Kerry Leonard '07 Starts Girls' Hockey Program in Wilton, Conn.

According to The Advocate of Stamford, Conn., Kerry Leonard '07 has taken on the formidable task of developing the girls' ice hockey program at Wilton High School in Wilton, Conn. The Wilton Warriors are now in their first season, and Leonard is the team's first coach.

Leonard has a record of excellence on the ice. In high school, she played for the Spinnakers, a conglomerate team comprised of players from a number of high schools around Stamford. At the collegiate level, she played for the University of Southern Maine before bringing her game to Hamilton. Leonard scored 24 goals and assisted on 24 others in 75 games during her three seasons on Hamilton's ice hockey team and achieved the title of alternate captain. The ice rink was not the only venue for her athletic prowess. She played field hockey also for Hamilton.

After graduation, Leonard was an instructor at several youth hockey camps before becoming the assistant field hockey coach at Staples High School in Westport, Conn. She then traveled to Colby College in Waterville, Maine, where she was the assistant coach for the women's ice hockey team.

Leonard enjoyed coaching seasoned college players, but it is the challenges of accommodating a spectrum of athletic knowledge and ability that she finds truly rewarding. "In college everyone is already at a high level, and has a good understanding of the game," she said. "In high school, you have a few different levels that you're trying to accommodate, so it makes it a little more challenging."

Coaching at the high school level also means skilled players often transfer to preparatory schools with more competitive programs, which drains high school teams of their precious core talent. Leonard's colleagues, however, are sanguine. "It all comes down to good coaching, and Kerry is a good coach," said Rich Bulan, head coach for the New Canaan girls' ice hockey team. "Eventually you'll get that one great player who will stay, and that will convince others to stick around, too."

Leonard herself is happy with the Warriors' efforts. At mid-season, the team's record stood at 1-4 in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference. Leonard knows the athletic division is tough, but she recognizes progress. "We've played Greenwich twice," she said, "and the difference between the two games was huge."

Leonard views her career as a tribute to the coaches that have molded her playing. "It's a great opportunity, to be able to help create the program. I've had great coaches along the way, and this is a way I can give credit to them and give back to the players."
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