Reading , PA – The Reading Royals of the ECHL, affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League and the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League, today announced that the team has acquired right wing, Leon Hayward, from the Columbia Inferno in return for defenseman, Chris Barr, and center, Grant Jacobsen. Hayward is currently on loan to the Lowell Lock Monsters of the AHL, where he will remain until further notice.
A 26 year-old fourth year pro, Hayward was selected as the 2005 ECHL Playoff Most Valuable Player for his efforts as a member of the Kelly Cup Champion Trenton Titans. Over the course of 20 playoff games with the Titans last season, Hayward scored six goals and assisted on five others (eleven points), added 32 penalty minutes and played to a (+6). Three of Hayward 's playoff goals came in games Five and Six of the Kelly Cup Finals against the Florida Everblades. In Game 5, Hayward scored the first of what would prove to be five unanswered goals to spark a 5-2 come from behind win over the Everblades at Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton . Hayward also assisted on Rick Kowalsky's game winning goal in the series deciding sixth game of the Finals.
In 51 games with the Inferno this season, Hayward, who hails from Seattle, Washington, scored 26 goals and added 15 assists and picked up 142 penalty minutes. Hayward has scored a goal and picked up two assists in 13 games with Lowell this year, and he also racked up an assist in his only game with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL back on October, 7, 2005. This marks the second stint for Hayward in Reading , where he scored nine goals and picked up 3 assists in twenty-three games with the Royals in 2003-04. In that season, Hayward also played 42 games with the Manchester Monarchs and returned to Reading to play in five playoff games during the Royals' somewhat improbable run to the ECHL Northern Conference Finals. A four year impact player at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, from 1998 through 2002, Hayward was a multi-sport star–hockey, lacrosse and football–at Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts, before his tenure at Northeastern.