Tanner LeSann wants to make a splash in more ways than one in his second season with the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos.
“I want to get into a bigger role in ice time to say a third or second-line guy, but I also want to become more of an agitator,” said LeSann, who grew up in Yorkton. “I want to be the guy that always sticks up for his teammates and gets under other players’ skin. I hope to get into at least 20 fights this season.”
Twenty fights is well over the agitator average, but for LeSann, it’s just three more than he had last year as a 17-year-old rookie.
“I definitely am not afraid to drop the gloves - I like it,” said LeSann, who racked up 119 penalty minutes in 67 games last year. “I just try to be the guy that steps in when a cheap hit is laid.”
Besides throwing fists, the 6-foot, 168-pound centre believes he can make more of an impact on the score sheet with the confidence he gained throughout last season.
“I’m a lot more confident this year and it shows on the ice,” said LeSann, who scored five goals and five assists last season. “Last year I learned a lot and got comfortable with the league. And I didn’t even expect to make the team last year. I only packed enough clothes for a couple days because I expected to get cut. This year I’m confident to stay and want to play a bigger role.”
Even though it will be difficult to juggle the roles of an agitator and a scorer because of the offensive time lost in the sin bin, LeSann is confident he can.
“I think I can do both,” he said. “I did it with the Harvest (alluding to his 2011-12 season where he scored 42 points in 40 games while spending 100 minutes in the box). I know the WHL is harder than AAA, but I think I can be a strong two-way forward in this league.”
In preparation for his hopeful breakout season, LeSann spent his summer training in Yorkton at Taryn Romanowich’s CrossFit Function gym.
“It was a great experience,” said LeSann on training at CrossFit Function. “I worked hard and noticed my strength build. I got a one-on-one trainer and that really helped me set goals and reach them.”
LeSann, 18, will see a familiar Yorkton face in Swift Current this year. His former Harvest teammate, Dakota Odgers, will be joining the Broncos once he fully recovers from his shoulder injury.
“It will be great to be on the same team as Dakota again,” said LeSann. “We’ve become pretty good friends. I’ve seen him a couple times over the summer and we’ve talked about this hockey season.”
The feeling is mutual for Odgers.
“It will be nice to be on the ice with him again,” he said. “We’re friends and he’s a guy I liked playing with a couple years ago. It’s always good to know someone really well when you’re joining a new team.”
LeSann and the Broncos officially kick off their season on Sept. 19 at the Brandt Centre against the Regina Pats.