Mintos to honour Leicht prior to home opener Saturday

Daily Herald File Photo Prince Albert Mintos forward Jacob Leicht battled for the puck with Saskatoon Contacts blueliner Austin Wieler during a game at the Art Hauser Centre in January 2017.

He only spent one season in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League with the Prince Albert Mintos.

However, the impact that forward Jacob Leicht left on the team is one that is long lasting.

Prior to their season opener Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against the Moose Jaw Generals at the Art Hauser Centre, the Mintos will pay tribute to Leicht, who lost his life in the Humboldt Broncos bus accident in April.

“It’s obviously going to be tough and we want to show his family just how blessed we were to have him in Prince Albert,” Mintos manager Don Fauchoux said.

“Our last game of the 2018 playoffs was prior to the accident, so we haven’t had a proper chance to pay tribute to Jacob until this weekend.”

The Humboldt product suited up in 37 games with the Mintos during the 2016-17 campaign and had eight goals and 17 assists during the regular season.

He also had a goal and an assist in eight post-season contests before moving up to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League last year.

“Jacob was a quiet guy both on and off the ice,” Fauchoux said. “He was one of our smaller players but his work ethic was what separated him from others.

“He was one of our later picks to make the team that season and he started the year on our third and fourth line, but he was right at the top of the lineup at the end of the season and helping our skilled players out. His heart and desire was second to none.”

Saturday’s matchup with the Generals is the first of two home games for the team this weekend, as they’ll host the Swift Current Legionnaires at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Following a trip to the league final last season, where they fell to the eventual Telus Cup champion Notre Dame Hounds, the Mintos will be icing a much different lineup for the upcoming campaign as many of their possible returning players are either on SJHL or Western Hockey League rosters.

“It’s probably the youngest team we’ve had in a number of years,” Fauchoux said. “We also have the most players from Prince Albert in many seasons with nine in the lineup, so that’s huge for us.

“Even though it’s going to be a bit of a learning curve for our guys, I know our coaching staff will do an excellent job of teaching our new players about the league as the year goes along.”

After a 4-1 road win over the Beardy’s Blackhawks Tuesday, the Mintos wrapped up their exhibition slate with a 3-3 record.

“I thought things went well,” Mintos head coach Ken Morrison said. “It was a tough process as we had a lot of different guys in the lineup to fill in the holes left by those moving on, but the players did well in adapting to some challenges.

“The biggest thing for this weekend is to make sure that we are sound defensively as we’re going to be playing two tough opponents.”

Incoming forward Dawson Springer led the Mintos in the pre-season with seven goals and an assist in six games.