Springfield Cathedral hockey sophomore forward Johnny Leonard announced via his Twitter account today that he has committed to UMass-Amherst.
Leonard, an Amherst native who has ties to Minutemen athletics, does not have an intended date of arrival.
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.
— John Leonard (@JohnnyLeonard24) October 21, 2013
As a freshman, Leonard finished second on the Panthers in goals with 15, and was fourth on the team in points with 24. Leonard is Cathedral's second Division 1 commitment in as many years, joining junior forward Peter Crinella (Holy Cross).
"You never know what you're going to get out of freshmen players, especially when they're reacting to pressure situations," Cathedral head coach Brian Foley told ESPN Boston Monday night. "But for him to score 15 goals last year as a freshman, it didn't take that long to figure out that we had a real special player on our hands."
While Leonard had generated interest from other programs, he immediately jumped at the opportunity to join the program he'd grown up watching.
Aside from committing to his hometown, Hockey East squad, Leonard has lineage with UMass, as his father, John, was an assistant for the Minutemen basketball team under Steve Lappas, in addition to previous NCAA Division 1 coaching stints.
"He had a great year last year, he has a lot of confidence with the puck and he knows how to score. He's an elite goal-scorer," Foley said.
He added, "We just hope that Johnny and Peter achieving that they have will open the door to even more players down the line."