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Former VJW Star Sam Kurker Continues Dream Year
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It has been a year that young players dream about. But for one former Valley Jr Warrior - Sam Kurker - it is his sweet and well-deserved reality.

Kurker, who began playing hockey when he was barely able to walk and spent his younger years in the blue and gold jersey, now stands at an imposing 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds and has made his presence felt in North America and beyond.

In a matter of months, Kurker represented the United States at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Slovakia and the Czech Republic and then returned home to announce that he had made a verbal commitment to accept a scholarship and play hockey for Boston University.

“I always wanted to go to BU and was excited to finally make the decision,” said Kurker. “I had it in the back of my mind during the trip, but now I am just excited to be a part of such a great program.”

The accolades continue to stream in for Kurker. Just last month, he led the list of locals on the NHL Central Scouting's Midterm Rankings of North American skaters. He was ranked 41st overall and was one of 20 New England players to make the list. Also included in that prestigious list were former VJW players Cam Darcy (#103) and Brendan Silk (#206).}

His journey to this moment began more than 15 years ago when Kurker first laced up his hockey skates. Under the supportive eye of his family - especially his father Paul Kurker who coached the VJW ’94 squad from mites to bantams - Kurker not only developed his skill but he also made friends that he would keep through the years.

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Sam Kurker is shown above representing the United States at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Slovakia and the Czech Republic
When he competed abroad for the USA Under-18 Team in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, for instance, Kurker was joined by two other former VJW players Brendan Silk and Jon Gillies. He also made his collegiate announcement at the same time as longtime VJW teammate Casey Shea, whom Kurker will face off against when Boston University takes on UMass-Lowell beginning with the 2013 season.

“I still have friends from the team to this day,” said Kurker of his VJW experience. “I played mites through U-16 and it was great. I learned a lot from [Fred Devereaux’s] skill sessions and from all of the practices and coaches. Going on trips and playing against teams from all over the country was a great experience for our Warriors team.”

It was no surprise that Kurker was pursued by a handful of Division I schools. During his junior season at St. John’s Prep (Danvers), for example, the Reading native set career highs for goals (20), assists (17) and points (37) while helping the Eagles make it to the Super 8 finals where they bowed to Malden Catholic in overtime.

“His size and skill make him desirable but his attitude and commitment is what sets him apart from players his age,” said Devereaux, the VJW's director of player development. “There were few if any other kids who worked as hard both on and off the ice as Sam, and it is so nice to see him enjoying the benefits of his hard work.”

While starring for his high school team was special, the most memorable moment for Kurker came last summer when he took part in the USA Hockey Player Development Camp in Rochester, New York. He made the most of his time by scoring seven goals and three assists in six games to finish among the camp’s top scorers. As a result of his outstanding play, Kurker was selected as a member of the U.S. Under-18 Select team, which went on to compete at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, a showcase for the best prospects that age in the world.

“It was awesome sitting in the room after the camp’s All-Star game and hearing my name being called as one who made the Hlinka team,” remembers Kurker. “It was an unreal feeling. I went into camp thinking and hoping to make the team, but I never thought that it could be a reality. Playing for Team USA is something that I have dreamt of since I was two years old. Words couldn’t describe the feeling.”

With his family in tow, Kurker enjoyed the experience in Europe and then returned home to make the “big” announcement about his collegiate plans. He made sure, however, that his future coaches at Boston University were OK with him returning to St. John’s Prep to finish out his senior year and serve as a team captain for the 2011-2012 season along with fellow Warriors Brian Pinho and goaltender David Letarte.

“I have a lot of friends at school and [SJP Head Coach Kristian Hanson] is a great guy,” said Kurker. “I love the atmosphere there and didn’t feel like it was necessary for me to leave early. I was glad that Coach Parker felt the same way and was excited for my senior season to start.”

It was a decision that both sides were happy about. In the first game of the season for the Eagles, Kurker netted a hat trick to help knock off Lexington. He has since helped his Eagles team to a 9-4 start and collected 35 points in 13 games. He is hoping to help lead his team to a second straight appearance in the Super 8 finals.

“It has really been about effort and attitude,” said Kurker. “There are a lot of highs and lows in hockey, but you can’t let one day get you down. You just have to keep working and give it your all.”
INDEX
Good As Gold - By Mike Lynch
It's OK Ray - By Mike Lynch
Blackwell Prepares for 2012 National Junior Evaluation Camp
Sam Kurker & Brendan Collier Selected in 2012 Entry Draft
Anton Bernard Continues to Enjoy His Post-VJW Career in Italy
Not Your Average Tree Stump - By Mike Lynch
2012 Warrior Classic To Feature Elite Prospects Teams
Chris Kreider Shines On, Breaks Records With the Rangers
VJW Players Perform Well to Finish 2nd at Merrimack Valley Cup
2012 Eastern Junior Hockey League Spring Showcase
VJW Summer Discounts at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning
14 VJW Players Selected For 2012 USA Hockey Development Camp
The Crown Was Too Heavy - By Mike Lynch
VJW Prepares For Inaugural Season in the Elite Prospects League
Chris Kreider Nets Game Winner in Game 6 For the Rangers
VJW Junior A Players Announce College Plans
2012-13 VJW Midget Coaches Announced
Chris Kreider Signs Deal With New York Rangers
Purple Passion - By Mike Lynch
2012 USA Hockey National Championships - Summary
Warrior Shawn Moody Selected to NH U-17 Festival Team
Tryout Reminder - Junior & Midget Dates and Times Are Posted
Three VJW Teams Prepare for 2012 National Championships
Warriors Take Home Three EJHL End-of-Season Awards
VJW '00 Elites Capture 2012 NEHL Championship Title
March Gladness - By Mike Lynch
VJW '99 Elites & '99 Selects Heading to USA Hockey Nationals
VJW Junior A Season Comes to an End in EJHL Quarterfinals
VJW Welcomes Stop It Goaltending for 2012-13 Season
Valentine's Day - By Mike Lynch
VJW Netminder Fabian Sivnert Accepts Scholarship to Bemidji State
VJW Junior A Team Advances to EJHL Quarterfinals... Again!
Save the Date - 2012 VJW Tournament Dates Released
Yes You Can - By Mike Lynch
Warriors Announce the Introduction of FULL SEASON U-16 Team
Former VJW Players Battle For Boston's Hockey Bragging Rights
VJW Teams Support Great Causes on the Frog Pond in Boston
Jan 30, 12
Former VJW Star Sam Kurker Continues Dream Year
VJW Junior A Defenseman Conor Riley Heading to Maine
Josh Woody Named EJHL Offensive Player of the Week
VJW '99 Selects Find Time for Hockey & Fun Outside
Warriors Represented in NHL Central Scouting's Midterm Rankings
VJW Accepting Coaches Applications for 2012-2013 Season
VJW Junior A Forward Mark Meads Commits to Bentley University
Scenes From Around Town - VJW Mite Minors
VJW Netminder Sivnert Named EJHL Defensive Player of the Week
Former VJW Star Colin Blackwell Featured in Hometown Paper
Skate On! - By Mike Lynch
North Team Loses, but VJW Players Shine at EJHL All-Star Game
VJW '99 Selects Lead the Winning Charge During MLK Weekend
Four VJW Players Selected for the 2012 EJHL All-Star Game
VJW Teams Compete Well at the 2012 JWK Tournament
VJW '01 Selects Continue to Roll in Holiday Tournament Play
VJW '03 Selects Skate to Victory During the Holiday Break
VJW '00 Elites Face Off in 2K Super Series Tournament
Men of Steele - By Mike Lynch
Six And Counting for the Red Hot VJW Junior A's
VJW '00 Selects Take Time to Give Back to Toys For Tots
Colin Blackwell Feeling Right At Home in Cambridge
VJW Junior As Extend Winning Streak to Four Games
VJW '97 Elite Players Prepare for High School Challenges
Warriors Sweep Glades to Move Into Third in Northern Division
VJW '01 Selects Win Big at Thanksgiving Tournament
Occupy Anti-Hazing - By Mike Lynch
VJW '00 Selects Capture Bronze at 2011 CAN/AM Tournament
VJW Teams Take Home Titles, Impress at Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament
Teams Prepare for 2011 Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament
VJW Teams Come Together For A Great Cause
VJW '97 Elites Win States; Are National Bound Again
Family Affair - By Mike Lynch
VJW Teams Bring Home Gold, Three Bronzes at 2011 CAN/AM Tournament
VJW Junior Squads Perform Well at the 2011 Warrior Classic
2011 Warrior Classic Underway in Haverhill
VJW Mite Minors Enjoy a "Special" Visit
VJW '03 Selects Look Strong Heading Into CAN/AM Tournament
VJW Junior As Split Weekend Series With Apple Core
Barrier Buster - By Mike Lynch
Four VJW Squads Fare Well at 2011 Bauer International Challenge
VJW Junior As Extend Win Streak to Four Games
Three VJW Players Earn New England Hockey League Weekly Honors
Fenway Follies - By Mike Lynch
Trevor Braun Delivers Again; Leads Junior As to Win over Monarchs
Two Big Wins Lift VJW '97 Elites to the No. 2 Spot In the Nation
Warriors Skate to Big 7-5 Victory Over the Jersey Hitmen
Warriors Put A Little Bit of "Pink" In Their Step
VJW 03 Selects Enjoy Hockey Northeast Debut
VJW Teams Impress Early During NEHL Qualifying
VJW Junior A Team Ready For New Challenges
No Light At The End Of This Tunnel - By Mike Lynch
Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning Center Comes to Haverhill
Happy New Year By Mike Lynch
VJW '97 Elites Ready For Another Memorable Season
Defying the Odds: 2011 Warrior National Showcase Is a Hit
Ring the Bell for Keegan - By Mike Lynch
Al Always Gave His All - By Mike Lynch
2011 Warrior August National Showcase Comes to Haverhill in August
Summer of Stanley - By Mike Lynch
Former Warrior Colin Blackwell Selected In 2011 NHL Entry Draft
Welcome Home Stanley! - By Mike Lynch
Come One, Come All to the 2011 VJW Golf Classic
VJW '97 Elites Enjoy Impressive Spring Hockey Festival Performance