Danny McLeod has been a teacher his entire life; although not in the traditional sense of the word. He did not teach in the classroom, he taught everywhere else.
Growing up on a small farm on the outskirts of Medicine Hat in the 1920-30s as the eldest of four boys, he learned the value of hard work and the importance of doing things right the first time. His first teaching job was teaching his siblings chores on the farm so he could move on to more demanding ones.
At the outbreak of WWII he left the farm to serve his country, which he did with distinction; rising from the rank of private to captain, becoming the first Canadian to graduate from Sandhurst the historic home of British officer training(first in his class), leading troops in battle and winning the Military Cross for valour in action. He and his troops survived because Danny taught them about war, and they followed his leadership, determination and pursuit of excellence.
Danny honed his skills by remaining in the army after the war, achieving the rank of Major and doing what officers did in peacetime, prepare for war by training and teaching others. He also polished his athletic and management skills, which were substantial, especially in hockey, boxing and lacrosse.
In 1960 Danny was the popular choice to become the founding Director of Athletics at Royal Military College, in Kingston, Ontario. He had, without being aware of it, achieved his “dream job”, teaching young men to be officers in the Canadian Forces. He started with a clean sheet and developed a comprehensive program that featured inclusiveness, individual sport, team sport and contact sport participation, along with periodic physical testing to validate his approach. He was innovative and mentoring and produced numerous subordinates who came to prominence in their own right.
He was instrumental in generating interest in resurrecting the defunct Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union, but this time on a true national basis. He succeeded in creating a national organization and accepted the position as the founding Secretary- Treasurer. He served until 1971 when he left Royal Military College upon retirement.
Rejecting overtures to accept national coaching jobs abroad, he accepted the challenge of joining the National Hockey League as a Supervisor of Officials in the Expanded 12 team league. This involved training and supervising referees and linesmen in the NHL and AHL. He also trained all the on-ice officials on international hockey rules for the historic Canada-USSR Series of 1972.
Returning to Kingston upon retirement from the NHL, he re-connected with friends and colleagues in the area and was active on intercollegiate hockey and sports related issues. Royal Military College of Canada lost a great warrior when – The Major WJ (Danny) McLeod passed away in the early hours of Tuesday morning, 14 Jan 2014.