Springfield forward Leibold makes NCAA DI commitment
March 16, 2017
The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that forward Ryan Leibold has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey at Army (West Point) in Atlantic Hockey. This is the 10th Springfield player this season to be committed to an NCAA Division I program.
Leibold, an 18 year old from Ashburn, Virginia, said Army really stood out to him once he visited the campus. “The whole campus was nice and the opportunity to set myself up for the rest of my life (after hockey). I love the coaching staff too. They have been there for a while now and they are a tried and true staff,” said Leibold.
In his first year in the NAHL, Leibold has tallied 11 goals and 15 assists for Springfield. When discussing his development as a hockey player, Leibold spoke about his time in Springfield playing a pivotal role.
“Springfield and the NAHL is where Army first saw me play. Definitely playing with the level of competition that this league has in it, Springfield gave me the opportunity to develop and become a Division I hockey player,” said Leibold.
Leibold is yet another great example of an NAPHL to NAHL to NCAA development ladder success story. During the 2015-16 season, he played in the NAPHL for the Washington Little Capitals 18U team. During that season, he signed a tender to play in Springfield for the 2016-17 as was also named to the All-NAPHL 18U 1st Team after scoring 43 points in 25 games played.
However, according to Jr. Blues head coach Tony Zasowski, a former NAPHL coach himself, he said the Leibold’s development from NAPHL player to full-time NAHL player to NCAA commit was a testament to the process.
“Ryan was a guy that had been to several tryout camps and used hard work and development in the NAPHL to get to the point where he was ready to play in the NAHL. It is a testament to the process and the NAPHL development ladder. It shows that if a player can work hard and develop his skills in a league like the NAPHL, then trust the team-building process through our various methods like tenders, the draft and tryout camps, that the process really does work and will continue to do so,” said Zasowski.
With committing for the 2018-19 season, Leibold still has one year left in junior hockey. Even though he is committed to the Black Knights, he still has goals set for himself through next year. “If anything, this is when all the real work starts. I can’t slack off now. I just want to keep developing as a player, come to the rink everyday and try hard.”