ECHL: An Interview With Adirondack Thunder Defenseman Jackson van de Leest

Cody Conine/InsideTheRink

When you think of a player who is 6’7, 238lbs, one of the first thoughts that come to people’s mind is someone who is going to fight and throw around the body, but van de Leest is not the kind of guy who is going to rack up the penalty minutes, “Ya, I think that being physical is my game, but it’s not open-ice blindside hits or fighting, I do like to stick up for my teammates when the need arises to be able to throw my weight around; I was taught early it’s all about separating the man from the puck and if I can do that using my body, doesn’t have to be the biggest hit but it’s effective” said van de Leest

Adirondack Thunder defenseman #75 Jackson van de Leest Post-Game Remarks 2/24/2024
Adirondack Thunder defenseman #75 Jackson van de Leest Post-Game Remarks 2/17/2024

van de Leest is from Kelowna, BC, and like most Canadian kids, the 6’7 defenceman would get on skates as a child and would later get into hockey, which has started to become a trend in the van de Leest household, “My parents were athletes; my dad played hockey when he came to Canada, and they kinda put me in skating lessons early, and I started playing when I was five” said Van De Leest. Jackson isn’t the only one who plays hockey, as his sister Adriana is currently playing hockey at the University of Maine after spending her first two years at Bemidji State University; in three years at the NCAA level, Adriana has put up four goals and 14 assists for 18 points in 95 games.

“It’s awesome, there was a little bit when she was younger when their weren’t many options for the women’s side of the game and by adding that you’re really only adding a whole new fan base and avenues for people to be successful in hockey and I’m really excited for her adventure and where it’s gonna take her and for all women coming up and having their pro league and being able to advance is only good for the game

Jackson van de Leest on the growth of the Women’s game and it’s future

Since signing with the Adirondack Thunder back in mid-February, van de Leest has gotten a taste of not only ECHL hockey but AHL hockey as well, playing in 11 games with the Thunder picking up two assists, and playing in six games with the Utica Comets as he picked up his first career assist last Friday in Utica’s 7-4 loss to the Providence Bruins.

“It’s been awesome, it seems like it’s been quick it’s a whirlwind. I think I got a great support system here with players and coaches and going up to Utica that was awesome the guys and coaches welcomed me right away and were able to help my acclimate to that next level of hockey, it’s been a quick ride but I’m enjoying it all the way”

Jackson van de Leest on his pro career so far

Armand Klisivitch

Inside The Rink ECHL Manager | Senior Editor Credentialed Reporter for the Adirondack Thunder & Worcester Railers.

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