ECHL: Reading Royals: A Talk With Steven Leonard

Photo Credit: Sarah Pietrowski/ Reading Royals

Steven Leonard is making a name for himself in the ECHL, but that doesn’t come without some experience and the grit he has brought to the Reading Royals this season.

Working Through The Ranks

Leonard has played 27 games in the FPHL with the Danbury Hat Tricks and Port Huron Prowlers. During that span of games he tallied 8 goals and 12 assists. Leonard has moved up the ranks to the SPHL and played with the Pensacola Ice Flyers, Knoxville Ice Bears, and Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs. During his time in the SPHL, he played in 72 games and notched 13 goals and 13 assists. He was recalled to the ECHL and played for Norfolk Admirals, Iowa Heartlanders, and now the Reading Royals. He has played in a total of 60 ECHL games thus far and has tallied 5 goals with 10 assists. Here is his view on the similarities and differences between the leagues:

“I’d say the speed of the game. Guys are better on their sticks. Similiarly, it’s still a tough game, alot of tough guys. All three leagues, you gotta be weary about that throughout the game. Other than that, I think the speed and everything is elevated.”

Twin Time

Interesting fact about Leonard, he has a twin brother, whom currently plays for Jacksonville Icemen, his name is Sean Leonard. Leonard speaks on what it was like having played on the same professional teams with his brother together:

“It’s been a really cool experience getting to play at the professional level with Sean. We played a few spots in the FPHL, SPHL, and we played together for Norfolk Admirals. It was a dream come true.”

Summer Training

Summer training is important for every player, no matter what league or level they play on. Leonard speaks on what his summer training consists of and where he trained at:

“I usually spend the summer on Cape Cod training with Cape Cod Hockey. This past summer, I went back to New York and trained with an old coach at a rink in Brooklyn. I did some boxing, some strength work, and on-ice.”

Stand Out Coaches

There is always that one coach that stands out to players. One coach and person that has had effect on their life and playing style. Leonards speaks on not one person, but a group of people that stood out to him throughout his career:

“There has been so many over the years. Aviator Sports, a group of guys there opened the facility and really instilled the passion and competitive level of me and my brother in the game. So I really have to thank them for where I’m at today.”

In-Game Mindset

Having an in game mindset of positivity and the way you play, is important not only for the player, but the team and the game. Leonard speaks on what his in-game mindset is:

“You are just trying to compete and make a difference out there every shift and getting to the net. Just playing simple and hard, and effective hockey.”

Lessons Learned

Learning lessons is what makes everyone human. You take the lessons that you learn and apply them so that you don’t make the same mistakes again. Leonard talks about what his biggest lesson in life has been:

“Just dealing with adversity. You don’t go through this game without getting scars or some minor setbacks. Just learning how to overcome those little battles. You might not notice that day to day, but you’ll notice it season to season, or year to year. You keep coming back. It’s a special thing about this sport.”

Growing Up Hockey

Playing hockey is a lifelong commitment for most players. Leonard was no exception. Not only himself, but his twin brother as well. Leonard speaks on what made him want to be a professional hockey player:

“I was born right into the sport. I have memories of the rink around two or three years old. When I first put on skates, I fell in love with the game. It’s really the only thing I’ve thought about most of my life.”

Idolization

There is always those players out there that will have the role model effect and model the game for players down the road. Leonard speaks on who he models his game after:

“I’d say today’s game, to the best of my ability, to be a little bit like the Tkachuk’s and Konecny, and Brendan Gallagher. Finding that balance and getting under guys skin but to still be an effective player for the team.”

This season so far, Leonard has tallied 5 assists in 16 games with the Reading Royals.

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