VJW '97 Elites Ready For Another Memorable Season
97elites_player2.jpgSix months ago, the VJW ’97 Elites finished the 2010-2011 season ranked 10th in the country. It’s scary to think that this talented team is even better this season, but that just may be the case.

Case in point, the Warriors are coming off a dominating performance at the 2011 Warrior National Showcase. Not only did the squad capture their second straight title, they did it in an impressive manner by winning all five games and scoring 32 goals.

“We didn’t allow one goal in five games,” said Steve MacAdams, head coach of the VJW ’97 Elites and the organization's director of program development. “We were good last year and the year before, but we are even better this year. We have a strong corps of players and we picked up a few new good kids as well.”

The idea of the VJW ’97 Elites being better this year is a scary thought for their opponents, especially the Seacoast Spartans who were a top 20 team last season and one of the few local teams able to keep pace with the Warriors. In last month’s Warrior National Showcase, however, the Warriors blanked the Spartans by a score of 4-0 in the finals.

“They had played a couple of hours earlier and we didn’t, but we controlled the game throughout,” said MacAdams. “We probably allowed only 20 or so shots in five games.”

One of the strengths for the Warriors this year will be the size and depth of their roster. The team will carry 11 forwards, six defensemen and three goalies which will no doubt help the team compete against the nation’s best.

Two years ago, the Warriors gained valuable experience en route to their semifinal finish at the 2010 USA Hockey Tier I National Championship. MacAdams and his coaching staff is hoping that the experience on the national stage as well as another strong year of league play (they won the New England Hockey League title last spring) will translate into a strong showing come this season.

97_goalie.jpg“We don’t stop,” said MacAdams. “We just keep coming and coming, which is a tribute to the kids. They keep working hard regardless of the score.”

For the first time, this team will also take part in a split season. As such, the team will play together in the fall and then go their separate ways in order to compete for their high school teams. They will regroup come spring and hopefully complete their season with another trip to the National Championship.

“It used to be that when we went to nationals we knew that we could compete but we realized that we would have to play great and make no mistakes in order to win,” said MacAdams. “We have a better chance this year because of the way we practice and because of the kids that we have on this roster.”

Preparation for what will be an exciting season will include a tough Hockey Northeast schedule as well as tournament play at the 2011 Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament and the 2011 Bauer International Invitational.

"Our goal is to prepare these kids for high school," said MacAdams. "But we are also
looking forward to a great season together."
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