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John Leonard of Amherst selected to USA Hockey development camp

Amherst native and Cathedral freshman John Leonard was selected to participate USA Hockey's Youth Select 15 development camp. The camp will be held July 14-20 in Williamsville, N.Y.

Amherst native and Cathedral freshman John Leonard was selected to participate USA Hockey's Youth Select 15 development camp. The camp will be held July 14-20 in Williamsville, N.Y. Purchase photo reprints »

After an impressive first season at the highest level of high school hockey in the state, Amherst resident John Leonard will spend a portion of his summer trying to turn heads on a national level.

The Cathedral freshman has been selected to attend the USA Hockey developmental camp for players born in 1998. The Youth Select 15 camp is set to run July 14-20 in Williamsville, N.Y., a suburb of Buffalo.

“It’s a development camp that then makes up a (national) team,” Leonard said. “I heard that a bunch of other players I knew from high school and youth leagues were trying out, so I figured it would be a great opportunity for me. I have to make these chances count.”

The initial local tryouts occurred at The Olympia in West Springfield earlier this month. Leonard then advanced to last weekend’s three-day regional session at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough. The weekend culminated on Sunday with an All-Star game.

“It was all pretty fast-paced,” he said. “Every player there is very good, so it was some great competition for all of us. I thought I did pretty well in the all-star game, well enough for them to choose me.”

The National Team Developmental Program prepares top-level players for participation in international competitions. Only the U-17 and U-18 national compete internationally.

As a freshman, Leonard scored 15 goals with 23 points for Cathedral, which earned a spot in the Division 1A “Super 8” Tournament for the second straight season. The Panthers were eliminated in the opening round by eventual champion Malden Catholic.

Cathedral teammates D.J. Petruzzelli (1997) and Peter Crinella (1996) made their respective developmental teams as well. Leonard and Petruzzelli were linemates for much of the season.

“All the teams are under the same organization as U.S. development teams, but each age has a separate team,” Leonard said. “It’s great to see my teammates get this same opportunity.”

Leonard is spending the spring season playing lacrosse for the Panthers.

Michael Wilkinson can be reached at mwilkinson@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @mjwilk1237.

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