The Toronto Marlboros grad is looking to make a name for himself at the World Junior Championship this Winter.
On a cold brisk Friday night at Mississauga’s Hershey Centre, the Mississauga Steelheads hit the ice at home before heading out on a five game road stretch.
With the announcement of Team Canada’s World Junior Selection Camp roster, the Steelheads will be without their captain Michael McLeod for the better part of the next month – a testament to the impact of the New Jersey Devils 2016 first round pick.
Steelheads fans will get their chance to see McLeod on the ice in a different venue entirely, as the young forward figures to be an integral part of this year’s edition of the U20 national team. The World Junior Championship, taking place in Montreal and Toronto, are sure to be a spectacle as Canada attempts to redeem their fifth place performance in Helsinki last year.
The opposition has a lot to look out for when comes to McLeod. As per a Finnish scout in attendance at the Steelhead’s game, McLeod is the whole package: size, skill, speed and aggressiveness. As the game progressed, the scout’s report held true. Right from the opening face-off, McLeod was in control of the ice. Standing at six feet, two inches, and 195 pounds, he was able to create scoring opportunities at any given moment. Having his younger brother Ryan by his side doesn’t hurt either.
“We find each other well,” said Michael. “He’s one of the best passers for his age group that I’ve ever seen so it’s easy to get open and find him.”
Although he was only able to register a single assist in the Steelheads 5-3 loss, McLeod was integral in creating two of the goals for Mississauga. On the Steelheads first goal, McLeod sent the puck back to the point before breaking to the net to set a screen. With Petes goaltender Dylan Wells unable to locate the puck through the traffic created, the puck found the back of the net, tying the game 1-1 in the first period.
Before leaving to lace up his skates at the U20 National Team’s training camp, McLeod was able to register 28 points in 26 games. On the possibility of being on the team, McLeod was humble on his participation in the training camp and the possibility of playing a major role in the tournament.
“It’s obviously cool, it’s fun getting back with those guys and knowing that the tournament is in Toronto and Montreal this year will make it that much more fun,” said McLeod.
Already an impressive player with an amazing skill set at his disposal, McLeod is trying to fine-tune his game for the big stage in preparation for the next level.
“I’m just trying become a more complete player, working on the little things, controlling the play, setting up down low and little details.”