Leonard Signs with Jr. Blades for Sophomore Season
Estero, Fla.-- The Florida Jr. Blades graduated over half of their 2011-12 defensive core to higher Canadian and collegiate leagues. The team looked to rebuild their blue line by re-signing Jake Leonard.
A Fort Myers, Fla. native, Leonard comes off a rookie campaign where he saw action in 38 regular season games. The stay at home defenseman tallied one goal and three assists.
"Jake has a lot of jam and is a tough kid full of character," said head coach and general manager Tad O'Had. "He came in for his rookie season and acted nothing like a rookie. By the time playoffs and nationals came around, Leonard was steady as a rock."
Leonard's steady personality and influence will serve him well as he looks to be an example to the new crop of rookie defensemen. "We're adding several guys to the blue line that have grown up through the Junior Everblades system," said Leonard. "It can be a big transition to juniors and I hope that I can use my personal experiences to help them make the transition seamlessly."
The Jr. Blades are known for their offensive powers, but also broke the Empire Junior Hockey League record for fewest goals allowed last season (66). "When building a team we look to maximize players skills, whether that's offense or defense," said O'Had. "At the same time we expect every player to contribute in any situation, which is largely why we are so successful."
Leonard embodies the team first attitude. "We made it to the national semifinals last season, we all worked hard and we just didn't make it," said Leonard. "I've trained throughout the offseason to be able to help my team to the best of my ability."
The six-foot, 190 lb. Leonard continues to shine in his training on and off the ice and is a welcome signing for Jr. Blades coaches. "We couldn't be more plea