Leathal Weapon: Danny Gare's Nephew Leath Keeps Carving Out His Path

Steve McSweenSenior Analyst IMarch 9, 2010

His uncle Danny was a 50-goal man in the NHL. His father Ernie still holds the record for most assists during a game in the BCHL with 9.

Yet Leath Gare, with all his skill and bloodlines, keeps having to carve out his own path in hockey. Something he has been successful in doing so far despite being told time and time again that he was too small.

While playing minor hockey in Vernon, B.C., he watched as players who were less skilled moved up to the Junior "A" and WHL ranks, while he waited for an opportunity.

What he lacked in size, he more than made up for with his great vision and playmaking ability, strong skating stride, and his knack for scoring goals. 

The fact he didn't have BCHL scouts drooling all over him was about as smart as the 2006 Men's Olympic Hockey team not selecting Sidney Crosby.  

Instead, after his minor hockey days came to a halt, Leath ended up playing Junior "B" in the Kootenay International Junior League with the Nelson Leafs, a team where his father Ernie and grandfather Ernie Sr. had also played. 

He tore it up offensively, and led the club to a third-place finish in the Neil Murdoch Division.

After a year in Nelson, the BCHL's Prince George Spruce Kings came knocking, and Gare didn't disappoint. He racked up 33 goals, and 47 assists in 60 games, leading the club in scoring and 7th overall in the league with 80 points.

He then put up 16 points in 11 playoff games, proving he could handle the intense physical side of the game as well, against much larger players.

Despite his brilliant season, the 5'9", 160-pound Leath wasn't recruited by any NCAA clubs. Making him the only top ten scorer who wasn't aside from the Nanaimo Clippers Bill Vandermeer who was ineligible because of his previous time spent in the WHL.

You would think that the University of New Hampshire Wildcats, where his older brother Lanny Gare spent four brilliant seasons, would have come calling.

Leath was like the Led Zeppelin of hockey, they sold 200 million albums yet never won a Grammy, he put up 1.3 points per game and never got a scholarship.

So once again, Leath Gare had to open another door after yet again getting one closed in his face.

This time the path took him to the Concordia Thunder of the ACAC (Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference), where after a slow start he finally came into his own last season putting up 40 points in 28 games(10 goals, 30 assists).

This season, Gare put up 11 goals and 14 assists in 25 games, and has added a point a game during the playoffs to lead his Thunder into the finals against the 1st place Sait Trojans, after sweeping the 2nd place Mount Royal Cougars.

Sure, it isn't the NCAA Frozen Four.

But to Gare, and his Thunder teammates, it is the next best thing. And this is their time to shine, by knocking off a Sait club that has dominated over the years, and finished 23-3-2 during the regular season.

It is something that the hockey critics will say can't be done.

Leath Gare, however, has made a career out of proving those critics wrong. 

Go Thunder!