ESPNBoston.com and its High School section today announced that John Leonard, junior forward for the Cathedral High (Springfield) Panthers, is the recipient of its fifth annual "Mr. Hockey" award, presented to the top male high school hockey player in Massachusetts.
The Mr. Hockey Award winner was chosen by a panel of experts made up of ESPNBoston.com staff, correspondents and high school hockey coaches. Leonard will be presented with the award at a later date.
“What Johnny was able to accomplish this year is simply amazing,” said Scott Barboza, ESPN Boston High Schools editor and coordinator of the site’s hockey coverage. “His stat line stands out on its own merit, but considering he did so again some of the state’s best competition is what is truly remarkable. He was able to score seemingly at ease.”
Leonard becomes just the second non-senior class player to win the award, joining Malden Catholic’s Ara Nazarian. He is the first recipient from outside of the Eastern Mass. districts.
The UMass-Amherst commit scored 47 goals with 28 assists in 25 games for the Panthers last season. Leonard finished second in the state in goal scoring and first among all players at the Division 1 level.
“John had an incredible season,” Panthers head coach Brian Foley said. “He continues to make dramatic improvements from year to year due to his work ethic. He is totally dedicated to training and nutrition year around and it is paying off for him. He is fast, strong and amazingly skilled. Scoring 47 goals is a crazy number in Division 1.”
Leonard also led scoring at the Super 8 tournament, netting six goals in three games as Cathedral entered play with an unbeaten regular-season record and a No. 1 seed.
“John is expected to be a high draft pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, and despite all the success John has had, he remains very humble and always gives credit to his teammates for his good fortune on the ice,” Foley said. “He is an absolute pleasure to coach and seeing his talent and creativity day in and day out at practice and in games is fun to watch.”