Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Giants bring in Canadian defenseman Curtis Leonard

By Adam McKendry

The Belfast Giants have further strengthened their defensive corps with the signing of Canadian blue liner Curtis Leonard.

Last season's ECHL 'Best Defensive Defenseman', 25-year old Leonard becomes the fifth d-man to sign up to the Giants' cause for next season.

Joining from the Fort Wayne Komets, the Napanee native arrives off the back of two seasons with the Komets, totalling 161 games with seven goals and 40 points.

Leonard's +34 plus-minus rating was second in the ECHL last season, making him an impressive signing for the Giants.

Standing at 6'3", Leonard also had a hugely successful four-year college career with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) where he wore the "C" in his final year.

As well as impressing as a junior for the Wellington Dukes, with whom he won the OJHL Championship, the defenseman has split time in the ECHL with Reading and Evansville, while he also played once for the Rochester Americans in the AHL.

A good friend of current Giants forward Darcy Murphy, who has already signed on for the upcoming season, Leonard admitted it was he who convinced him to join.

"I am good friends with Darcy Murphy and he told me how great the fans and the city of Belfast are - it was a very attractive place to play!" Leonard told Patrick Smyth of A View From The Bridge.

"I am a competitor and I want to win at all costs. I am a team guy who wants to be effective, compete hard and do my job well."

Leonard will wear #10 for Belfast next season, the number of departing forward Sebastien Sylvestre, who is believed to be moving to the EBEL next season.

Sylvestre was one of the Giants' stand-out performers last season with 39 goals and 91 points in 66 games.

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