1993 Inductee, Leo Reise – Hockey

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1993 Inductee, Leo Reise – Hockey

My name is Rick Mannen and I’m an inductee into the Brantford area sports hall of recognition and it’s an honour and privilege for me today to be interviewing Leo Reise Junior Leo Reise Junior was inducted in the Brantford and area sports hall of recognition in 1993 for the sport of hockey After playing junior hockey for the Brantford Lions and Guelph Bit Motors, Leo joined the Navy and played for the Navel Vets team in Victoria, Winnipeg and Halifax At the close of World War II he turned pro with Black Hawks In Chicago he play parts of two seasons he was traded to Detroit in 1946, an event that bark the real beginnings of his NHL career With the wings Leo played his best hockey, scoring two overtime goals during a bitterly fought semi final series against the Maple Leafs in 1950 The wings went on to claim the Stanley Cup last year and again in 1952 During those years Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsey and Red Kelly made the headlines while Reise performed a great deal of the spadework that kept the Wings on top of the standings In 1952 Leo was traded to the New York Rangers where he played for two more seasons before heading to the minors to round out his hockey life with the Owensound Mercuries in 1955 In 494 NHL games he recorded 28 goals, 109 points it was named the second All-Star team in the 1950 and 51 it was a first All-Star in the 1950 51, 52 and 53 years When he started his NHL career in 1945 it was the first time that a father and a son had made it to the top His father Leo Reise Senior, had played in the NHL for Hamilton and New York and on a sidenote Leo and his wife Geraldine have been married 70 years years in March one month from now So Leo why did you take up the sport of hockey? There was nothing else to do at the time I thought it was a professional hockey player for years and I thought that’s a good route to go You didn’t have any choices at that time The choicees come up and you make them as they go, one of the choices were to play hockey so I took that route Nobody wanted to say do you want to be a pilot? Do you want to be a bank manager? Nobody asked me that So the only thing I was capable of doing was being a hockey player Leo do you have any mentors that have made it impact on your life? Not as a mentor I don’t believe so My father was a hockey player so he affected my life rather but our family broke up quite easily, early I can’t assess who- Tommy when I was a young boy playing hockey Tommy coached hockey he was an influence every year and every stage in my life there was somebody that was important I never saw them when I looked back he was my mentor no I didn’t run across any like that School teachers they’re all influence somewhere or another Is there any specific highlight or experience that really stands out, I know you’ve had a lot in your life but is there just one that stands out more than the other? I really don’t know Winning the Stanley Cup was something ultimate at that time Playing in the All-Star games and what not they were experiences Play against the guys then with them and against them Every time you played in one of these it was an experience that was worthwhile So I didn’t have any specifics but boy I played against a lot of good hockey players and with a lot of good hockey players The whole package at my age now when I look back there’s no then and here It was the whole panorama in front of me all those guys I played with and against real good guys Wonderful men So that’s all So that Actually leads me into the next question I know you played with Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsey and against Rocket Richard can you tell me what it was like? What was it like? What was it like? Well you better be quick That’s what you had to be, you had to be quick and on your toes

You had to know how to play your best You played your best against the best that’s where that went If they were good hockey players when you played against me you were good too You had to be in with a group and as long as you could stand up to them that was what you had to do And it didn’t matter how good they were right up the wall with those guys I was one of them So therefore I was good as any of them I was an all star and that’s it I maintained that all the time My job was to be the best that I could be To do that had to be as good as the other guys Talking about some of the players who was the best that you ever played against? The Bentley brothers those guys in Chicago and Montreal had the rocket his brother and a couple other guys They were all stars They weren’t that much different You gotta get right up different And someone scores more goals on a team, they were being a part of it And that’s all You had to make sure you can handle them all as they come by I never thought of one guy better than the other I just made sure that he wasn’t better than me That solved my problem I looked at it objectively as an individual you think well who’s better? Hey I played against so many good ones that I can’t separate them At that time there were some fine hockey players and I was one of them, let’s put it that way I was as good as they were and enjoyed my life That’s good Leo Now I know there’s gotta be a lot of differences between when you played and now, I know money is one of the big differences but what would you say is the biggest difference between when you played and now? Well, I think there’s bigger and stronger and faster, I wouldn’t think they’re faster but as a whole that just becomes stronger You had to cope as they got bigger and you thought you had to cope with the bigger guys but there was always room for a person and it was good that they skate faster That was a big, I always felt, actually when I played for Detroit, at the end the practices they said Leo you can go and they follow- they chased me around the rink You lead them, you get out there and do it, that was what I felt I had to do anytime against any team, any person I had to be able to skate faster, backwards over frontwards sometimes, and that was, I always felt that, never let them get ahead of you I said, a step ahead, or any of that Never let them think that they can beat you, and you never let them Sometimes hold them down But there’s so many fine hockey players, they all these Lindsay, Howe, and those guys from Chicago, Bentley Brothers, all those guys They were fine hockey players Just very fine hockey players and other teams It was a great year to play in, I’ll tell ya, I had a great time It was a great time to play Now, we know that you played in all star games and had the Stanley Cup champions playing against the lead all stars, what do you think about that format and do you think we should go back to that format?The all star games now are not particularly interesting There’s nothing, nobody put too much into it You noticed all the games came out even About 4 or 9 each I saw that the played never exhibited their best abilities, they went through the motions

and you know they But it wasn’t a show if you say, well did you see the guy with the big name yea who wasn’t doing anything that was a big show Unless it’s competition, it’s meant to be competition and that means you get to watch your favourite shows, the All-Star games were pretty blaze types of things But it was an honour to play in them and when we played against the guys it makes sure you were on the All-Star team Make sure they knew who you were Do you have a favourite NHL team now that you watch on television? Anyone that pops up on my TV I can’t get enthusiastic about it I watch Detroit I was some —— You know, I’m afraid I’ve never have had — I’ve been attached to hockey for a long time and never were the players ever better, better, better, better, better It was just so, watching these guys play down and play in the All-Star games They put through their emotions and some of them played real nice, score was 10/10 I think But, but, but there’s no commentator there was nobody that said, I’m gonna stop that guy I was just, they’re great shows I guess, you never sleep through watching it Now we, you’re aware thar we’ve got a new Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre that’s gonna be opening very soon with a few hockey rinks, and I know you’ve been in it, what do you think? The complex, we never had, and it’s beautiful It’s gonna be lovely, it’s a credit to the country, and got on top of it What do you think of the future of hockey in this area? Well now, I think there’s a massive, a lot of hockey players The biggest problem is the cost of ice and the cost of equipment The kids are coming- a friend of mine has had her couple boys in a league in Brantford, and they had to quit, it was too much money Then I go to them to help somebody and then I have to be a chaperone and pay this and do this It took all – it made them- I don’t know how they can cope with it because it costs a lot with the ice and a whole bunch of- unless they have a sponsor to – When I played in Brantford, we had the Lions Club and we were headquartered and headlined and all that stuff we did, a bunch of good men and for financing part I guess they were alright, don’t know that much about them But we had a core of people and the ice was paid for and you played and what not, but now, you haven’t got those guys- The tax situation is in one sense, doesn’t leave you something- why I have someone, I can give that away, I can put that in the sports you know, and that’s easy, I can- I got enough to- I can help sponsor a team But the tax situation- if you make a lot of money, they take it and that’s where I have a problem with the whole area At the old days, there’s always people making money more than the other guy and already men that had money enough to give-sponsor a team or pay for some trip for them But now when you make that much money, the government take it, so it’s a happy feeling that I have anyhow and I don’t see how they can make it grow under the tax situation they have from an individual standpoint You made 100 000 dollars they take fifty percent of it so, so you know it’s not too much Well that’s my feeling anyhow whether it’s true, whether it’s true or not I don’t know but I know that they used to have men that were able to have enough money to take- well when I was a kid growing up, one of the gentlemen and the kids were playing hockey and would take us to camp and whatnot and they paid for the camp and all these things, and they

took guys like me who had nothing and they would pay for you and had to get skate and more skates and do something always to help you Now they’re not that many people that can do it Well I don’t think they’re are anyhow, I think they maybe already committed themselves but the way I look at is there are not that many people who have an interest in hockey that have enough money to do much sponsoring now But I don’t know, I am going back in time and well I notice that the Junior C kids get paid $35 to $50 a game We got fifty cents to go and get a hot dog after the game So now the Juniors and whatnot coming up, somebody pays for them and whatnot so the whole situation has completely changed that we were happy to get the fifty cents and we go down to there and looked forwards to go to one on Colborne St. Yea yea, well we got a hamburger, and that was a great idea you know I don’t see how the game will grow unless there are some alterations or you have sponsors and I don’t know whether there’s that many people you know are interested enough to sponsor Once in a while you see some of those guys who sponsors swimmers, what they pay for the swimmers and whole, but there’s not that many extras that are able to do that for hockey I don’t think the professional hockey players go I don’t think too many of them are running around saying “well I’ll take some of that billion dollars that I earn this year and sponsor a team, and as I think that’s selfish, but that’s part – if I’m wrong, then I’m wrong – I hope I’m wrong, but there’s enough of hockey players who are making a million dollars who could sponsor a team so the kids can get new skates and pants and whatnot Skates my gosh are 5 or 600 dollars and stuff and it’s a huge cost to equip a team but you have to give somebody that has a payroll A guy get’s paid seven million dollars to play defense for heavens sake That’s an interesting point of view, you’ve got the experience to back that up They’re not gonna put anything up, if they’re gonna do something, why don’t you put out something why don’t you sponsor a team Okay I’ve got another question – that’s payback time- sure, that’s a good point And I have another question is if there was a young aspiring athlete right now, what advice would you give em? I would tell them that if he has the capability he should go to university and play hockey They’ve got some great hockey teams and universities with the states and here Great hockey teams! A lot of players go from there into the league so that’s what I say get the, get your background If you haven’t got the capability of getting into university then put every investment in money and you do what you have to do You know I, I got my degree by correspondence When I first started hockey when I was out of high school I was like what am I gonna do to get the money so I- an article was sent out and I took up accounting and I went to uhm- Chartered Accounting in Brantford right, anyhow I went to them and they asked me what I was interested in and, I was interested in farming as a matter of fact So I made the mistake of mentioning that well I don’t think that was gonna count But then on I took a correspondence course, I got my degree when I was 50 I got my BA I got my CGA when I was turning 60 that’s when I got my CGA

I took correspondence courses all the time I played hockey I played them in Detroit, I had a tournament with the International Correspondence School I took it all the time I got one of my degrees in – the second in business and I got my BA down there it was always correspondence So what I did was I, very honestly I knew I wasn’t gonna end up where my father did, my father had nothing All he ever did was play hockey, and the problem was, he thought that would help him He thought that the friends he made would always understand he was a hockey player and be generous to him and it wasn’t working out that way I remember, when I was ready, I had no bicycle, he said I can get you one, so he got me one He went out to I forget who he got it from The problem was he came back with a broken spoke And I remember him counting on the players, the people he knew, well I can get that I remember, he got some bushels of apples or something, well yea a bushel of apples, he picked off the ground All the thing was that, the thinking went into it that I have something here that is important, and there’s nothing left after you play hockey None of the people who are cheering you or yelling and saying good for you When you needed something, there was nothing there, and that’s probably normal and natural but I know he had the idea that was maybe what he had relied on His hockey to take up longer, take him farther, but the end was the end And as a hockey fan, he’s a great hockey fan, just memories of that There’s nothing left after that I was very conscious of all this going on and it wasn’t going to be me That’s great advice Leo I got my degrees and my certificate in management, and have I seen Jay So all those things I think, I think everybody, every hockey player – but that’s definitely not going to So you had something to fall back on right? Yea! I had something to fall back on, and that was my ambition to make sure I didn’t have to ask anybody for anything again Make it on my own So I noticed that your hands are really heavy You’ve got some stuff on your fingers there Well this one is my Stanley Cup ring and this is the other Stanley Cup ring Well Leo that’s it for the interview, it’s been an honour and a privilege I talk too much but that’s how it goes It’s been great Thank you very much You’re welcome, it’s been a pleasure