Ryan Casey, the top netminder for the Valley Jr Warriors Junior A team during the 2008-09 season, will be packing his bags and heading to Nichols College next fall. The 5’11”, 185-pound goaltender was highly recruited by the ECAC Northeast powerhouse which is coming off a season in which it posted a 24-4-0 record, the most wins in program history.
"Ryan was a pleasure to have this past season as our #1 goaltender,” said Andy Heinze, VJW head coach/general manager. “Not only is he a solid player but also an outstanding teammate. He was great on and off the ice and very dedicated to improving. He is a character kid with exceptional work ethic. Nichols College has provided Ryan with a great opportunity and I know he is excited to be a part of their strong program."
During his time with the Warriors, Casey established himself as one of the top netminders in the Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL). In 32 games played, Casey posted a 3.78 goals against average and .909 save percentage. More importantly, Casey collected 1,123 saves to help the young VJW team gain valuable experience against some of the top junior-level talent in the Northeast. His composure was no doubt one of the reasons why Nichols College was attracted to the 20-year-old Casey.
"Ryan was the top priority for us this year, and we are very excited that he has chosen to attend Nichols College,” said Lou Izzi, head coach at Nichols College. “We scouted him extensively over the past two years in the EJHL, and we see him as a franchise-type player for us. He is quick, agile, controls his rebounds quite well, and he has shown the ability at a high level of junior hockey to carry his team and steal a win. We are impressed with his attitude and demeanor, and his passion and desire to compete every day."
Casey will also fit in well with the outstanding corps of student-athletes at Nichols College. This past season, the ECAC Northeast champions – which were defeated by Hobart in the NCAA Division III Men’s Hockey Championship – placed nine members of its ice hockey team to the 2008-09 ECAC Northeast All-Academic Team.