The Massachusetts hockey team has added some local blood to its recruiting class.
Amherst’s John Leonard, a sophomore forward at Cathedral High School in Springfield, announced via Twitter on Monday that he has verbally committed to UMass.
“I have made my decision to play college hockey at UMass Amherst. I could not have done this without the support from my family and friends,” Leonard said on his Twitter account, @JohnnyLeonard24.
For Leonard, whose father, John, worked as a UMass men’s basketball assistant coach under Steve Lappas, joining the Minutemen was a dream come true.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play there, and I’ve been going to the games ever since I was a little kid,” Leonard told MassLive.com. “I love the atmosphere there, the fans are great, and (UMass coach John Micheletto) gave me a great opportunity.”
Leonard drew interest from other schools, but there was no doubt in his mind that UMass was where he wanted to be.
“UMass was always my number one choice,” he told MassLive. “I just always wanted to go there.”
Leonard scored 15 goals and had nine assists as a freshman last season, good for second on the team, to help lead the Panthers to the 2013 Super Eight tournament.
Leonard will likely join the Minutemen’s 2016 freshman class that already includes Alex DeBrincat and Jake McCarthy.
Nick Canelas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @NickCanelas.