Halifax Hurricanes head coach Mike Leslie was heavily involved in the development of basketball in P.E.I. He has a collection of provincial championships while coaching at local, provincial, and national levels in both P.E.I. and N.S.
Leslie, a N.S. native originally from Amherst, taught in the classroom and as a physical education teacher for twenty-two years from elementary and intermediate to high school.
Following his teaching career, he worked in administration for two years and then spent seven years with the Department of Education.
Leslie is a former president and director of elite development with Basketball PEI, a former assistant coach of the UPEI men’s team and has instructed with the Canada Basketball Atlantic High Performance Program.
“I think four years working with Island Storm has given me an opportunity to understand the league quite well,” says Leslie about transitioning into coaching professional basketball in 2012 as assistant coach of the Island Storm.
He says his experience with the Storm allowed him to get to know a lot of players, identify the types of players that move through the league, and provided him with a deep understanding of how the NBL operates.
Leslie has been referred to as a “player’s coach” who is “understanding and productive.” At training camp, the team echoes Mike Leslie similar sentiments in saying Leslie “makes his players his number one concern” and “brings a lot of energy to the game.”
The feedback he received from players over the years coupled with strong encouragement from the Storm organization — who told him “this is what you should be doing” — contributed to his decision to further his career and jump on the opportunity of a professional head coaching position.
Leslie says he is both excited and grateful to be back in Halifax and adds, “It will be an ongoing process to evaluate what we have for our team right now and consider what that looks like for other teams in our division that we are competing against, on a night by night basis.”
With files from The Chronicle Herald