PENTICTON VEES DEFENCEMAN Joe Leahy (97) has committed to Cornell University Big Red for the 2018-19 season.

PENTICTON VEES DEFENCEMAN Joe Leahy (97) has committed to Cornell University Big Red for the 2018-19 season.

Vees blueliner commits to Cornell University

Penticton Vees defenceman Joe Leahy has committed to the University of Cornell Big Red for 2018-19

Joe Leahy is joining the Big Red.

The Penticton Vees announced today that Leahy, 19, a defenceman, has committed to Cornell University for the 2018-19 season.

“Joe has really impressed since the onset of training camp. He not only has great size but excellent mobility and sees the game very well,”  said Vees head coach-GM Fred Harbinson in a team statement. “We’re excited to have him on our blueline not only this year but the year after too.”

In five pre-season games, Leahy picked up a pair of goals and three points as the Vees went undefeated in six games.

Leahy arrived in Penticton from the Stratford Cullitons of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL). The Waterloo, Ont., product had an excellent season last year as he was named the Midwest Conference Defenceman of the Year and First Team All-Star after racking up 19 goals and 48 points in 44 regular season games. He was fifth in team scoring and fourth among defencemen in the GOJHL. The six-foot-four, 204-pound rear-guard averaged a point per-game in the playoffs, scoring six goals and 21 points, helping lead the Cullitons to a Cherry Cup title as Midwest Conference champions. In 82 career regular season games in the GOJHL, Leahy amassed 28 goals and 70 points and another 25 points in 36 career playoff games.

Cornell University is located in Ithaca, N.Y., and their men’s hockey team is a member of the ECAC. The Big Red has won two NCAA championships in 1967 and 1970, and has won the ECAC championship 12 times. Notable alumni include Joe Nieuwendyk and Ken Dryden.

With his commitment, Leahy is the 11th player on the Vees roster to have secured an NCAA scholarship.