(From left to right: Mike Grinnell, Bill Franzese, Paul Kurker and Ken Cleary)
On August 2, 2010, the Valley Jr. Warriors held the First Annual Jr. Warriors Golf Tournament at Andover Country Club. On this day it was not only the golf that these players were interested in, but in honoring five former coaches, who during their careers with the Jr. Warriors worked their magic with the players they had to work with. After the golf was played, everyone gathered for lunch, an awards ceremony and to pay tribute to these five individuals that have shaped not only their players hockey ability, but to show them about life in general.
Ken Cleary coached for 15 years with the Jr. Warriors at every level possible. During his coaching tenure he coached the like of Kris Krieder. Cleary won numerous State Titles, and had the opportunity of a lifetime for a coach, as he was joined on the bench by his father and oldest son during a season, while coaching the U-18’s.
Bill Franzese had the opportunity to coach the 95’s while with the Jr. Warriors. The highlight of his career was in 2008 when his Pee Wee squad won the State Championship and then competed at the National Tournament. Many of his former players are still in the Jr. Warriors program playing at the Midget level.
Mike Grinnell was the coach of the 97 select team for 6 years, while he was with the Jr. Warriors. Grinnell had solid players that would go out and compete with any team they were put in front of.
Peter King was the head coach of the 93’s that made an impressive run for five years. During this five-year span they did not lose one game, while garnering the 2006 Pee Wee State Crown and the 2008 Bantam State Title. Both squads went on to compete at their respective National Tournaments.
Paul Kurker coached the 94 Mites squad for the Jr. Warriors. During his tenure, he collected a couple State Championships, while also going to the 2007 National Tournament. Many of his players are still competing with the Jr. Warriors at the Midget level, while his son, Sam who currently plays at St. John’s Prep, also played for him with the Jr. Warriors.
During the awards portion of the luncheon, these honorees were given chairs to mark their accomplishments not only with the players they coached on the ice, but to the players they coached off the ice and served as a role model to during their tenure with the Jr. Warriors.