Catching up with former student athlete, Simon LeBleu.
LeBleu was one of our first student athletes here at OHA Penticton, attending our program from 2004-2006. After graduation, Simon went on to play two years of Junior A hockey in California. He also pursued a post-secondary education, “Knowledge is Power” says LeBleu.
After he completed his schooling in 2015, Simon’s passion for hockey, and with his desire to keep playing, lead him to found the Reno Ice Raiders, and soon after, he relocated to Reno, Nevada.
Lebleu has taken a niche market of Senior A Hockey and cultivated it into a professional outfit. He believes there is a strong market for players who have finished their competitive hockey career, who still have the desire to play competitively.
Players join the Raiders from all walks of life, all working full-time and competing just for fun. There is no fee to play and Raiders’ players have stipend and travel expenses covered by the team.
The Raiders concept was for from LeBleu’s desire to stay involved in hockey. He has even partnered with a local brewery to collaborate on his “Raider Brew” and has committed to support the local community and charitable events.
“The experiences at the academy helped shaped my desire to incorporate what I’ve learned on and off the ice to continue growth of the game. As a lawyer and business man, we’re not just a ‘Me club,’ we’re a WE club.’ It’s about making players stewards of the game in the community. The academy was integral in allowing me to understand that as a hockey player we have duty to give back to the game. This is my way of upholding that duty and giving the game back in meaningful ways to the players and the community at large.”
Simons goes on to share that he is proud to have turned a sheet of ice into a hockey community. “At the end of the day, it’s about passion, commitment, pride and having fun. If you don’t have these, it’s not worth the time. The academy truly helped me to come to terms with this.”
Simon LeBleu has his MBA and credits his experience owning the Raiders in helping build his business acumen and be the best business owner for the team and the community.
Going to OHA was one of the greatest decisions I have made for my hockey career. OHA prepared me for the next level. Skating, strength, speed, conditioning. I wouldn't be the player and person that I am today if I hadn’t chosen OHA."