A tireless worker and focused goaltender, Camille Leonard is the starting goaltender for the Oakville Jr. Hornets of the PWHL. Her great work ethic led her to being one of the goaltenders selected for Team Ontario Red.
The squad competed at the 2012 National Under-18 Women’s Championships, and Leonard would stand between the pipes for the bronze medal win. The other goaltender selected for Team Ontario Red was Kassidy Sauve, and the two were very supportive. “I looked up to her. She already went through the Team Canada program. We are good friends. We used each other to pick each other up.”
Fellow Oakville Hornets teammate Kristin Gilmour was one of Leonard’s teammates on Ontario Red. “It was nice to get to play with someone you already know from your home team. Knowing her well, I know how she plays. I did not have to adapt to her style.”
One of her assistant coaches on Team Ontario Red was former Dartmouth Big Green player Kim McCullough. The founder of Total Female Hockey, McCullough has coached and worked with thousands of women’s hockey players.
McCullough’s experience and acumen made an impression on Leonard. “I never had her as a coach before. She is a great coach to have around. She brings a positive attitude. She is always honest but really tries to help.”
With the level of talent in the province of Ontario, two teams are iced for the U18 Nationals, Ontario Red and Ontario Blue. The head coach of the Oakville Hornets, Bradi Cochrane was named head coach of Ontario Blue.
Having to play against the head coach of her club team was a different experience for Leonard. “It was weird. It was tough after we lost to them.” Despite the loss, Leonard thinks very highly of Cochrane. “It was still a fun experience. Bradi is a great coach, and she is really nice too.”
One of Cochrane’s assistant coaches on the Hornets is Shannon Moulson of the Toronto Furies (which compete in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League). As a side note, Cochrane competed in the preceding National Women’s Hockey League with the Beatrice Aeros.
Moulson’s experiences as a professional women’s hockey player are of great influence to Leonard. “For sure. It is pretty cool to have a coach that still plays, let alone on one of the better teams. She still makes time for us and her experience helps our team.”
Having committed to the Plattsburgh State Cardinals in NCAA Division III, Leonard will be joining a highly competitive squad. “After university, I would love to play overseas or in the CWHL. My goal is to make Team Canada.”
With the PWHL postseason looming, Leonard will be a key component in a deep playoff run. In order to be competitive, Leonard remarked, “We just got to start finding the back of the net. We have good individuals. We just need to pass the puck better and come together as a team.”
As many goaltenders, Leonard also has her rituals before occupying the crease. “I kind of just stick to myself (before a game). Anytime we switch ends, I bang my two skates into the net. I feel like I am leaving my mark on the ice.” For any who have played with her, her hard work and team spirit have left a mark on them.
*All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated