American born defender Les Lancaster spent his last season playing professional hockey in North America with the Allen Americans of the ECHL. Lancaster’s monster season with the Americans landed him the the honor of the ECHL’s Defenseman of the Year. After a campaign that saw him score the third most goals for a defender in ECHL history with 26, Lancaster would take his talents to Tampere, Finland where he would sign with the historic Liiga franchise Ilves.
In his first season with Ilves, the term “Les is more” was created as the Ilves supporters welcomed the North American import with open arms. In a previous article I spoke with Les about his jump to Liiga and his adjustment to the game and culture in Tampere.
“My first season was a memorable one simply because everything was a new experience. Coming over was really eye-opening but in a good way. It’s a scary thing to move halfway across the world not knowing anybody, not knowing the language, not knowing anything in the city. But the way my teammates, staff, fans, and the city embraced me was great. They made my transition a lot easier which helped me focus on my play on the ice. It may not be one particular moment but it’s something that is appreciated and memorable.“-Les Lancaster
On Wednesday, Ilves would announce that Lancaster signed a one-year extension with the club after another hot start to the Liiga season with 22 points (8G/14A). Ilves currently sits fourth overall with a 15-8 record.
This will make a third consecutive campaign for the Ypsilanti, Michigan native. In his time with Ilves, Lancaster has played in 85 games and accumulated 57 points with 17 goals and 40 assists. At times, Les has donned the “Golden Bucket” signaling the team leader in points, and has implemented himself as a dominant force on the blue-line in Liiga.