PBR Canada: Former Hockey Star Turns in Skates for Boots in Return to Canada’s Capital

By: Kacie Albert
June 09, 2017

Dakota Buttar will be competing in Ottawa this weekend. Photo: Andy Watson /

OTTAWA, Ont. – In Ottawa, Curtis Leschyshyn is known as a star National Hockey League defenseman, having played for the Ottawa Senators for more than three seasons. This weekend, though, the Stanley Cup champion player will trade his skates for boots and work the chutes at the PBR Monster Energy Tour event in Canada’s capital.

When the PBR takes The Arena at TD Place by storm on Friday night, Leschyshyn will be on the dirt as the event’s acting chute boss, ensuring everything operates according to a strict schedule.

“It’s exciting when you go back to a city you’ve played in,” Leschyshyn said.

Leschyshyn’s journey to his current role with the PBR began when he was a child. Growing up in the province of Manitoba, Leschyshyn was always fascinated by the western lifestyle and seized every opportunity he could to attend a rodeo or go horseback riding.

In 1996, though, Leschyshyn had his most impactful encounter with the sport.

That year, while playing for the Colorado Avalanche and living in Denver, Colorado, Leschyshyn attended a Bull Riders Only event. While there, he was invited onto the back of the chutes, where he was hooked the moment he stepped onto the steel.

After retiring from hockey in 2005, Leschyshyn was drawn back to bull riding. He recalled that former NFL quarterback Chad Pennington owned bulls and was immediately intrigued by the prospect of doing something similar.

Leschyshyn began researching how to launch his career as a stock contractor and has since built a business that has produced several Built Ford Tough Series-level bulls. While his pen has skewed young, it is currently highlighted by Damn Frustrating, who he owns with partner 4G Ranch.

Damn Frustrating made his BFTS debut in 2016, but for Leschyshyn, his shining moment came at this year’s Ty Murray Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In Round 1, Damn Frustrating tossed reigning World Champion Cooper Davis in 2.3 seconds to the tune of a 44.25-point bull score, the highest bull score of the round.

Along with raising bucking bulls, Leschyshyn has also worked to establish himself as a judge.

In a moment that brought things to full circle, Leschyshyn served as a judge at last weekend’s Monster Energy Tour season-opener in Quebec City, Quebec. It was a special moment for Leschyshyn, whose hockey career began in Quebec City after being drafted third overall in 1988 by the Quebec Nordiques, where he played for seven seasons before the franchise relocated to Colorado.

“Judging in Quebec City was the highlight of my judging career,” said Leschyshyn.

This weekend in Ottawa, Leschyshyn is excited for the action fans will be treated to after a strong opening event.

“The Monster Energy Tour is off to a great start and things are only going to get better,” Leschyshyn said.

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