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VJW '97 Elites Arrive in New York; Prepare to Take On Nation's Best
After weeks of practice, the Valley Jr Warriors '97 Elites arrived in New York and will prepare to face the nation's best at the USA Hockey National beginning on Wednesday evening.

Leading up to this exciting season finale event, several of the players were featured in the local media. Here is a story from the Salem Evening News.

Best of luck to all of the Warriors!

Locals lead Valley Junior Warriors to national championship

By Matt Jenkins staff writer

Peabody's J.J. Layton speaks of his latest athletic accomplishment without even a shred of sarcasm.

"This is probably my best year ever right now," the 13-year-old Layton said.

Probably? It's fair to say that Layton is downplaying — or at least trying to keep his cool — about the significance of where he's headed next.

Only seven months after serving as an outfield/third baseman for the Peabody West Little League all-star team that advanced to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., Layton is headed to another national championship: this time as a defenseman for the Valley Junior Warriors '97 Elites hockey team.

The Valley Junior Warriors hockey program is a top-notch youth organization that keeps an intense and competitive schedule designed to maximize a young player's potential.

In other words, the Junior Warriors play at the highest level of hockey available to young players, and the competition will only get tougher next week when they head to the 2010 National Championships in Amherst, N.Y.

The Junior Warriors — who feature players from Danvers, Salem, Middleton and Peabody, as well as players from the Merrimack Valley and Boston areas — will play three pool games against the Columbus (Ohio) Blue Jackets, Compuware (Michigan) and Connecticut Clippers beginning on Wednesday, April 7.

"We're all really excited about getting to nationals," Layton said. "We're just expecting hard competition. It's the best of teams that we can play."

Layton is joined on the Warriors roster by fellow North Shore residents Nicholas Holt and Eric MacAdams of Salem, Michael Disciullo of Danvers and Jake McKennelley of Middleton.

That local quintet has helped the Warriors pile up an unbelievable 65-4-2 record this season and earn a top 10 national ranking, according to the Web site myhockeyrankings.com.

The Warriors have travelled to various points across North America looking for highly competitive tournaments. So aside from the extra pressure of playing for a national championship, going out of state will be nothing new.

"We've played a crazy amount of games," Warriors assistant coach Steve MacAdams said. "We went to Toronto, Chicago and Connecticut for tournaments. We've gone all over getting good, competitive games to play so the kids can improve."

Improvement is a huge reason why many of these kids play with the Warriors.

As hard as it is to believe, many of these young players already have an eye on the future.

"There are only 12 teams left in the U.S., and there are a lot of good teams that didn't qualify that got beat out in regionals. This is the highest level for this age of kids," MacAdams said. "There are also kids of ex-pro hockey players who will be in this tournament on different teams.

"If you look back 6-7 years from now, some of these kids will be Division 1 college hockey players, as crazy as that seems."

It seems the recruiting may have already started.

Some college coaches are expected to be in attendance at the national championships, and the Warriors have already got a little taste of that close to home. They had the opportunity to skate with Boston College coach Jerry York at B.C. a couple weeks ago, and just days after Boston University coach Jack Parker ran their practice.

The Warriors, who have several players who played together for years on another select team before joining the program, aren't just heading to nationals for the fun of it either.

They believe they can win.

"We've played a couple of the teams (headed to nationals) already, and we've seen other teams that will be there that we didn't get to play at some tournaments," MacAdams said. "But we've seen them already, and we know we can compete with all of them."

INDEX
VJW U 16s Capture 2008 Massachusetts State Title
Valley Jr Warriors U-16s Capture Labor Day Title
Three VJW Teams Bask in NEHL Championship Victories
VJW '96 Selects Skate to Victory at Summer Cool-Off Tournament
Three VJW Teams Bask in NEHL Championship Victories
Valley Jr Warriors '99 Elites Capture WNS Title
Valley Jr Warriors '99 Selects Shine at WNS
King of What? - By Mike Lynch
Triumph and Courage - By Mike Lynch
Like Father Like Daughter; Alex Carpenter Is Carving Out Her Own Legacy
The Year to Remember Continues for Former VJW Player Chris Kreider
Valley Jr Warriors '96 Elites Shine at WNS
Keeping #5 Alive - By Mike Lynch
Tournament Action Returns to Haverhill in 2010
Magical Season Comes to an End for VJW '97 Elites at USA Hockey Nationals
A Class Act - By Mike Lynch
VJW U 16 II Team Skates to State Championship Win
VJW '97 Elites Loss Sets Stage for Third Day Showdown at Nationals
VJW '97 Elites Post 3-2 Win Over Columbus at USA Hockey Nationals
Apr 6, 10
VJW '97 Elites Arrive in New York; Prepare to Take On Nation's Best
Former VJW Junior A Player Colin Mulvey Captures NCAA National Title
VJW '97 Elites Prepare for USA Hockey Nationals
Chris Kreider - Former VJW Standout - Leads BC to NCAA Tournament
Nothing is Impossible - By Mike Lynch
Valley Jr Warriors Excel at Labor Day Face-Off Invitational
Former VJW Junior A Star Cucci Shines in Hockey East Battle
Valley Jr Warriors '97 Elites Capture WNS Title
VJW Mite Selects Bask in NEHL Championship Glory
VJW '97 Elites Punch Ticket to USA Hockey Nationals in April
VJW '99 Selects Celebrate Mass State Select League Championship
VJW '98 Elites Capture New England Hockey League Title
Former VJW Junior A Standout Nets Year-End League Honors
Non Sibi - By Mike Lynch
What Can You Do For Brown? - By Mike Lynch
VJW Squirt Major Selects Make a Difference Both On and Off the Ice
VJW Squirt Major Selects Take Time to Help Others In Need
Valley Jr Warriors Coach Bob Sweeney Joins Beanpot Hall
Tewksbury Tough - By Mike Lynch
VJW Teams Battle For Titles at the 2010 JWK Holiday Tournament
VJW '98 Elites Jonathan Folsom Featured in Local Newspaper
Standing Tall - By Mike Lynch
VJW '98 Selects Capture Boston Jr Terriers Tournament Title
Taking the Pledge in 2010 - By Mike Lynch
Valley Jr Warriors '98 Elites Take On Bell Capital Cup Challenge
Former VJW Standout Chris Kreider & Team USA Are World Champions
Former VJW Star Kreider Named to the 2010 U.S. National Junior Team
VJW '97 Elites Take Their Game to Canada
Holiday Shopping List - By Mike Lynch
Haverhill Valley Forum Enjoys Its Fourth Year of Operation In Style
Eastern Junior Hockey League Featured in Recent USA Hockey Magazine
Walking Tall - By Mike Lynch
Former VJW Players Shine On Collegiate Scene
Call to Glory - By Mike Lynch
14th Annual Warrior Classic Comes to a Close
VJW Teams Battle at Mass State Championship Playdowns
Riki Retelle Earns EJHL Defensive Player of the Week Honors
VJW Teams Set For Mass Hockey Tier I & Tier II State Championship Playdowns
Valley Jr Warriors Junior As Enjoy Weekend Sweep Over CD Selects
Welcome Home - 4 VJW Teams Return After Strong Showing in Chicago
Courage - By Mike Lynch
VJW Teams Poised to Face the Best of the Best
VJW Junior A Team Making Big Strides
VJW U-16 IIs Continue Winning and Championship Ways
The Golden Tornado - By Mike Lynch
VJW '95 Elites - Picking Up Where They Left Off
Steve MacAdams Brings Experience & Success to VJW
USA Hockey Announces H1N1 Recommendations
No Early Season Jitters for the VJW '98 Elites
Great Expectations - From Mike Lynch
VJW Mite Minors Off to a Fast (and Fun!) Start
VJW '99 Selects Make a Difference On and Off the Ice
VJW U-16 Midget Standout Brian Ward Heads to Dartmouth College
VJW Teams Post Impressive 5-1 Record Against Team Comcast
VJW '96 Selects Skate to Victory at Summer Cool-Off Tournament
Tom Terrific - Mike Lynch Reflects on Tom Brady
Valley Jr Warriors '98 Elites Capture WNS Title
VJW - Junior A Season Preview
A Happy New Year From Mike Lynch
VJW's JJ Layton Heads to Little League World Series
VJW Players Shine at 2009 USA Hockey Player Development Camp
Chris Kreider Selected No. 19 in 2009 NHL Entry Draft
VJW Tournaments Make a Return to Haverhill in 2009
VJW Junior A Team Welcomes Two Key Players for 2009-10 Season