Wilson “Copper” Leyte (1931 – 2013)

Sport: Hockey
Position: Forward
Year of Induction: 2004

About

Copper was born and raised in Newfoundland and is considered to be one of the finest hockey players the province has ever produced. From his high school performances in the early 1940’s through provincial senior hockey to Quebec junior hockey and Canadian senior hockey, Copper displayed great skill as a puck handler combined with exceptional skating and an intense desire to play at his highest level at all times. He arrived in Chatham in 1956 to play for the Senior Maroons helping to win the Allen Cup in 1959-1960 and some people consider him to be the finest player ever to put on a Maroon uniform. Copper continues to reside in Chatham.

Career Highlights
  • 1947 – at age 16 joined the Buchans Miners senior team where he played for 3 years culminating with the team winning the Herder Trophy emblematic of the provincial senior championship in 1949-50
  • 1950 – 1951– played for Quebec Citadel major junior hockey team and was second line centre behind superstar Jean Beliveau who centered first line – team lost in Memorial Cup finals to Barrie Flyers
  • 1951 – 1953 – played for Quebec Aces Senior team along with Beliveau and Coach Punch Imlach – in 1952 moved back to play defense – went to 3 training camps with the Montreal Canadians and played in several exhibition games with them – in 1952, team won Alexander Cup emblematic of top senior team in Eastern Canada
  • 1953 – 1956 – was an outstanding member of Glace Bay Miners, Charlottetown Islanders, and Amherst Ramblers of the Maritime Senior Hockey League – was picked up by Chatham Maroons for the 1956 Allan Cup finals
  • 1956 – 1961 – starred for Chatham Senior Maroons – in 1960 team defeated Trail British Columbia Smoke Eaters to win Allan Cup with Copper and goaltender Cesare Maniago emerging as the best performers
  • After retiring from playing in 1961, coached the Junior Maroons and then Chatham Minor Hockey teams until 1974

Copper died in Chatham in 2013.

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