VJW Junior A Team Welcomes Two Key Players for 2009-10 Season
The season may still be months away, but Valley Jr Warriors Junior A head coach/general manager Andy Heinze is busy putting together a strong team for the 2009-10 season.
Coach Heinze recently announced the signing of two standout players who will join the Warriors in Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL) play come September. Defenseman Tom Kader and goaltender Jeff Wyer.
Both players have excelled at the high school level and are looking to hone their skills at the junior level and help the Warriors compete for the EJHL title come 2010.
“Both players should step right in and help our program,” said Heinze, who just last month coached his Warriors team at the 2009 Spring Eastern Showcase held at the Haverhill Valley Forum. “They bring a strong skill set and a positive attitude which will make a difference on the ice and in the locker room.”
Jeff Wyer is coming off another impressive season between the pipes for Reading High School. He was named to the Boston Globe’s Super Eight Team following a senior campaign in which he finished with a .932 save percentage and a 1.50 goals against average.
“He is a really good athlete,” said Heinze, who noted that Wyer is also a standout baseball player for Reading High School. “He is more than just a one-sport athlete and what he is doing [excelling at two sports] is an example of his athletic ability and his commitment to the school.”
Two years ago – as a junior – Wyer backstopped his Reading hockey team to a historic performance as the Rockets became the first public high school to win the Massachusetts Division 1A Super 8 Tournament. During that season, Wyer posted nine shutouts and allowed 34 goals in 23 games for a 1.48 goals against average.
“It was a great experience at Reading,” said Wyer, who volunteers as a youth goalie coach for several local teams. “I am glad that I stayed my senior season because I was able to play in front of the hometown fans and youth players. It’s more like you are playing for a community and not just a school.”
Following that season, many players made the decision to exit the high school scene and take their game to the junior level. Not Wyer. The dedicated student athlete finished out his four-year high school career with the Rockets, which is a testament to his sense of commitment and loyalty to the Reading program.
“I admire his commitment to the school and to the [Reading] hockey program,” said Heinze. “He will have to adjust to the faster pace of junior hockey this fall, but over the course of his career he has accomplished everything he set his mind to do.”
Coach Heinze feels that the Reading resident exhibits all of the key skills and instincts necessary to succeed in the EJHL and at the collegiate level. Competing with the Warriors this coming season will no doubt prepare Wyer for his collegiate career with the University of New Hampshire. Wyer has already committed to that Hockey East powerhouse beginning in 2011.
“I am really excited [to play for the Warriors],” said Wyer. “I will be experiencing faster-paced hockey than I have ever seen, and I have heard nothing but great things about Coach Heinze."
Another standout high school player – Tom Kader – will be sporting the blue and gold jerseys this fall.
Kader is one of those players who will cap off his youth career right where he started – in a Valley Jr Warriors uniform. Back when he was just an eight year old looking to learn the game of hockey, Kader joined the Warriors as a Mite Minor. Over the years, Kader developed strong relationships with the VJW coaches and continued on to work with them during the summer months.
One relationship which has flourished over the years is that between Kader and Andy Heinze.
“I have worked with Coach Heinze since I was a young kid and have had a close relationship with him for a long time,” said Kader. “I have spoken with a lot of junior teams and what made me want to come here is the relationship with Coach. I knew that I could develop both inside and outside the rink.”
To wit, the mission of the VJW program is to help young student athletes develop a strong sense of integrity, strength of character and work ethic and help them achieve at the next level.
“He is going to be a very important part of our success.” said Heinze. “He is a great kid and really wants to learn and to be coached. He wants to get as much as he can out of junior hockey. “
Kader is coming off another strong season at Tabor Academy where his squad finished with a 15-6-4 record and just missed making the playoffs. The team posted a 13-2-1 record since January 4 and went undefeated during the month of February by winning the last nine games of the season. Kader is looking to use that impressive season as a springboard to success on the junior hockey stage.
“I think that I am a good passer and I see the ice really well,” said the 6-2, 200 pound Kader when asked about his strengths. “I need to work on where to be in some situations. Once I get that done, I’ll be in good shape.”
College coaches have already taken notice of Kader who received an offer to play hockey at West Point. Kader made the difficult decision to pass on the offer in order to play for the Warriors.
“He has all the tools to be a Division 1 player,” said Heinze. “He needs to play more consistently and get more consistent feedback on how he is playing. He is a good skater who is strong on the puck and who outlets the puck very well. There is no question that he is going to be a great addition to our program.”
For more information about the VJW Junior Program, please visit the team's Information Page by clicking here.