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Ask The Leafs: Rick Ley

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Welcome to a new feature on where you can ask a question of a member of the Maple Leafs each week and see selected answers posted here. You will also be able to see the answers on FanCam, one of the more popular shows on Leafs TV.

This week you can ask Leafs forward Tom Fitzgerald anything you like about the team on or off the ice. We will pick the best questions for him and Tom's answers will appear here and also on the FanCam epsiode on Saturday, October 26 at 11:30 am. FanCam also has repeat broadcasts throughout the week so check the Leafs TV schedule.

Recently, we had the chance to do a Q+A with assistant coach Rick Ley, who shared his thoughts about working with Pat Quinn and a few other subjects:

Q:You've been a teammate of Pat Quinn's and worked with him for years, what has made your relationship work so well and are you friends as well as having a working relationship?

Ley: Absolutely, we've been friends for along time. When we played together here years ago, we lived in the same town house development, drove to games and practices together and our wives are very friendly as well. It's been a relationship that has lasted many years. At this level I understand that Pat is my boss, but Pat is a terrific person to work for because you don't work for Pat, you work with him. That makes the relationship that much stronger.

Q: As a defensive coach and being a defenceman yourself, what do you work on with the players and do you put to practice your own experiences?

Rick Ley is in his fifth season as a Leafs assistant coach.
Graig Abel Photography
Ley: Well the game has changed a little bit from when I was playing. I think the biggest thing is to help players in their steps along the way in their career. I try to guide them away from any bad habits, and just be supportive and help them along the way.

Q: How has the defensive position changed since you played?

Ley: I think the game is a lot tougher. The game was very much a straight up and down game in the 60's and early 70's when I played here in Toronto. Then Bobby Orr revolutionized the game, then more emotion came into the game and then all the Europeans came over with their flow-type game. There's a lot more going on out there now that you have to figure out and that's the hardest things for the young kids because junior is pretty-much and up and down game. When they get to the pros they have to be able to read different situations and that's my job to help them with that.

Q: When you made the transition between the NHL and WHA, what were the biggest differences?

Ley: I was going to say money (chuckle). The style of play was very much the same. I was fortunate to go to New England, which ended up being Hartford and is now Carolina. We had a very good team and the first year there was four teams that could fit right into the NHL. One thing that if people go back and look they'll see that after the merger of four teams into the NHL, the leading scorers for the next five years, the top five or six played in the WHA.

Q: What was your best experience during your pro career?

Ley: Two Memorial Cup championships in Niagara Falls, then we won the Avco Cup the next year in the WHA. There was a couple coaching championships. There is nothing that beats winning the championship, which we strive to here with the Stanley Cup.

Q: I'm a coach for a minor atom team, what coaching advice would you give to coaches of young kids?

Ley: Let them play and let them have fun. There has to be a little structure involved but the thing for kids is too have fun. There are too many young kids giving up the game because their not having fun. It's the same in the NHL, this is a tough game and it's hard to work at it at any level, if your not having fun. That's the great thing for me. I've had a lot of years in the league and have enjoyed almost every minute of it.

Check back in upcoming weeks for the next installment of ASK THE LEAFS.

Previous ASK THE LEAFS include Carlo Colaiacovo
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