By Lee Samuels
Las Vegas – The other night Isaiah Letendre, the dynamic player for the WSHL Las Vegas Storm, blue-streaked down the ice Jason Zucker-fast, or close to it, and then unloaded a long-range fiery blast towards the net. The puck rocketed into the top left corner of the net. It was breath-taking play against a rugged team, the Wichita Jr Thunder on the North Rink at the Las Vegas Ice Center.
After he scored Isaiah and his two linemates – two Swedish teammates including Amandus Laukkanen, who does his scoring down low, near enemy nets and Ted Astrom, a fiery forward who has no problem skating deep into the shark-infested goalie’s crease area, skated back towards the Las Vegas bench in a single file.
What the fans in those cold bleachers that night didn’t know was this: Isaiah Letendre, one of the greatest goal scorers in the three-season history of the WSHL Las Vegas Storm, grew up in a small hamlet population 347 in Red Earth Creek, Alberta, Canada. In wintertime it gets down to 40-below. There was no hockey rink in town – just a small skating area. His mother is a cashier at the local Esso gas station and his father drives a large oil truck on snowy highways. His brother, like himself, wanted to play hockey.
Isaiah and his older brother skated first at the Red Earth Creek Recreation Center which has a small sheet of ice. At the age of eight Isiah began playing on the atom level with the Peace River Colts in Alberta. In his second year he was a peewee with a Grand Prairie team in Alberta. Going to practices took like 3 1/2 hours in a car.
“But my biggest decision as a young player was to leave home and play on the bantam level. That was a tough choice but we did it,” he said.
This led to the Banff Hockey Academy where he and his game of speed and skill all came together for Isaiah.
Gabe Gauthier, GM and head coach of the Storm, said “…Isaiah was referred to me from a friend in the hockey world. Isaiah was playing on the midget level in the Banff Academy.
“He is filled with tremendous grit and determination. He is such a hard worker on the ice and will run through a wall if you ask him. He is playing on our top line on the right wing with Amandus Laukkanen and Ted Astrom.”
In two seasons Isaiah has a career 33 goals. He is the #2 all-time goal scorer for Las Vegas, second only to Vincent Dekumbis who has 48.
So for Isiah what is his ultimate goal, how far does he want to take he and his game.
“This is all about playing in college hockey someday. That is where I want to go,” he said quietly outside the Storm locker room.
GM/head coach Gabe Gauthier had good news to share with his star forward.
“On the first day of the WSHL Western States Shootout we received two college offers for Isaiah,” said Gauthier.
(Storm Photo by John Brooks)