A native of San Jose, Will Leonard begins his first season as head athletic trainer for the Barracuda after serving as an intern with the Sharks in 2009-10. SJBarracuda.com sat down with Will recently to ask him a few questions as a part of the offseason staff spotlight series.
How long have you been with the team?
This my first year as the head athletic trainer for the Barracuda but during the first lockout in ’04-’05 I was helping out at a PT (Physical Therapy) clinic, and the Sharks head trainer (Ray Tufts) was also doing a little bit of work there during the lockout, so I got meet him there and begin to build a relationship a little bit. In ’09-2010, after some persistent bugging, I started out just helping out at camp, and then through the preseason, and that turned into a yearlong internship, and I’ve been helping out here and there ever since.
How long have you been working in sports?
I’ve been working in sports pretty much since high school because I knew when I was young that I wanted to do sports medicine so I’d help out our trainer at school and then once I got to college I played volleyball, but I also helped out in the athletic training room.
Where were you before joining the Barracuda?
I was working at Notre Dame High School in downtown San Jose.
What sports did you predominantly deal with at Notre Dame?
I worked with all 10 varsity level sports throughout the school year.
What made returning to hockey an attractive opportunity for you?
The opportunity to be back with the boys. It’s a great camaraderie, and a great group of people that are here and this is where I want to be and where I wanted to be for a long time, and now I’m here, and I’m just soaking it all in. I’m excited about the opportunity.
Did you grow up playing hockey in San Jose?
I grew up playing house league. I wasn’t very good at it, that’s for sure (laughs). But I’ve always been attracted to hockey because of its uniqueness compared to other sports. It’s exciting to work with because of how fast and dynamic it is.
Growing up as a Sharks fan in San Jose, what’s your fondest memory of the team?
My fondest memory growing up, I have no idea what year it was, but it was a playoff game, double overtime, and I want to say Andrei Zyuzin scored to win the game. I just remember it being around 11:30 or 12 (p.m), way past my bedtime, but I just remember having the time of my life with my buddy. It’s random moments like that that you never forget.