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Fenwick Girls Newcomer Sidney Leonard: Playing Hockey ‘has been really fun’

By Ross Forman, 01/29/23, 5:15PM CST


Sidney Leonard, a senior at OPRF, was playing hockey with the Oak Park park district when Kurt Gawley started co-coaching the crew. Gawley, who also is an assistant coach for the Fenwick girls’ hockey team, pulled Leonard aside last spring and asked if she knew about the Fenwick girls’ hockey team – and urged her to join.

“Ever since, I have been playing (for) Fenwick and it has been really fun,” said Leonard, 17, who lives in Oak Park and wears uniform No. 24. She’s played in 13 Metro Girls games so far for the Friars. “My first game with Fenwick was exciting. I was able to help the team a little bit and we came out with the win.”

Fenwick went 4-1 in the tiering round, only losing to the Chicago Central Romans, 7-5. The Friars are 4-3-2 in the Scholastic regular season, ending the 2022 slate with a 0-0 tie against Barrington in Bensenville.

“I want to make myself open in the offensive zone and often find myself near the crease for potential rebounds. On defense I try to stick to my position as much as possible and cover the open person. I think of myself as a little bit of a conservative player, as I would rather be safe than sorry,” said Leonard, quick to single out her family, teammates and coaches for the hockey support she has been given.

“My teammates and coaches are patient and encouraging as they give me tips on how to improve my game. My family has been very supportive as well as they give their time to drive me to games and encourage me to play in the Oak Park rec leagues.”

She plays goalie in the rec league. She’s a forward for Fenwick.

“I want what is best for the team and enjoy cheering them on. I feel like I contribute to the depth of the team,” said Leonard, whose sporting ways include 9 years playing for the Oak Park Windmills travel softball organization.

“I was a utility (softball) player, meaning, I played all around the field. As I got older, my main positions were third base, left field and catcher. During the spring of freshman year, I made the freshman softball team for OPRF, but didn’t get to play much due to COVID. I have played softball since I was in kindergarten and have really enjoyed not only playing, but the lifelong friendships that have emerged from it.”

Softball also, though, has had hardships for Leonard. “I had to get two knee surgeries because of softball, both of which occurred between two years. I was at a hitting practice for the Windmills. I was swinging on a tee and accidentally stepped back on to a ball. I ended up dislocating my knee, among other things, and (had) to get MPFL reconstruction surgery. It was tough because the recovery was about eight months, and I couldn’t play softball for at least 7.”

Despite being a newbie on the ice, Leonard has seen bright sports. “I have had a few good games where I’ve had a couple of takeaways and good passes to create plays,” she said.

Leonard is still undecided on her college plans for the fall. She wants to major in nursing. “Down the line I would like to work as a midwife in labor and delivery or in pediatrics,” she said.

Slapshots With Fenwick Forward Sidney Leonard

Favorite NHL Teams: Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs

Favorite NHL Players: Connor McDavid, Jonathan Toews, Auston Matthews and Jack Hughes

Favorite Sports-themed Movie: Miracle

Celebrity You’d Like To Meet: Taylor Swift

Hardest Slapshot on Fenwick Girls: Brynne West

Fastest Skater: Alessia Di Silvestro

Away From Hockey: “I enjoy hanging out with friends and family, playing video games, and traveling. I also have been working as an assistant coach in the Oak Park Windmills organization for the 12U team for two years.”

Gym Time: “I enjoy working out; (it) helps me on the ice.”

Little-known Fact: “I love dogs and I like true crime (stories).”