|The VJW Mite Elites (shown above) were one of seven Warrior teams that advanced to the semifinals of the 2010 Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament.
Following two days of round-robin play and a Sunday full of
exciting playoff action, the 2010 Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament came to a
close with seven teams earning championship title.
** Click here for final results **
In what was the most competitive field to date, each
division featured some of the top teams in the region and in many cases in all
of North America. Stepping up to the challenge was all eight Valley Jr Warrior
teams that took part in this year’s holiday weekend showcase. Coming up just
short and earning runner-up titles in their respective divisions were the VJW ’97
Elites and VJW ’00 Elites.
“It was a great weekend and our teams proved that they can
compete at a high level,” said Fred Devereaux, the VJW director of player development. “Although
we didn’t win the titles, this experience will allow us to hone in on areas of
improvement and prepare us for league play.”
One of the most exciting battles came in the ’97 Division
where the Warriors – ranked 9th in the country according to
MyHockeyRankings.com – took on 10 strong programs which included the Calgary
Royals, Seacoast Spartans and the 13th ranked Mid-Fairfield squad. Following a
tough 2-0 loss to Calgary on Friday, the Warriors pulled out a 2-1 victory over
Mid-Fairfield and then a pair of decisive 8-1 wins over Albany and Top Gun. Their
performance during the round-robin portion of the event set up a re-match with
Calgary in the semifinals. This time around the Warriors came through with a
3-0 blanking and earned a chance to defend the Warrior Thanksgiving
Championship title that it captured just one year ago.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, the squad ran into a red-hot
Seacoast Spartans team that had cruised through the first two days of
competition. The final was much of the same as the Spartans skated to a 6-5 win
to cap off a tournament which saw the Seacoast post six victories and outscore
their opponents by a 37-to-11 margin.
Despite the loss, the Warriors will continue on and compete
in three key league contests (against the Monarchs, Falcons and Seacoast) during
the month of December before traveling to Toronto to compete
in the Richard Bell Tournament during the Christmas holiday.
Hours earlier, another Warrior team –
the VJW ’00 Elites – took to the Haverhill ice in a championship showdown with
the BC Eagles. In the end, the No. 24-ranked team proved why it has gained
national recognition by prevailing by a score of 4-1 over the Warriors. Currently
sitting in fourth place in the New England Hockey League standings, the
Warriors have much to be happy about following the Thanksgiving event. After
all, en route to the championship contest the Warriors knocked off the mighty Red
Rangers in an exciting 3-2 semifinal matchup. The Red Rangers have been on fire
all season long as the team sits second in the NEHL standings with a 12-4-2
In addition to those finalists, the
Warriors were well represented in the semifinals as the ’98 Elites, ’99 Elites,
’01 Elites, Mite Elite and Mite Minor squads all fell just short in their bid to
capture a title in 2010.
"There is no question that all of the
teams were challenged this weekend,” said Devereaux. “We are already looking
forward to hosting this event again in 2011."