Warriors Take Home Three EJHL End-of-Season Awards
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From Top Left - Fabian Sivnert, Conor Riley and Andy Heinze
The Valley Jr Warriors capped off a tremendous 2011-2012 season by taking home three end-of-the-year Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL) awards – the most by any league program.

Netminder Fabian Sivnert (
Höllviken, Sweden) was named Goaltender of the Year, Conor Riley (Massena, NY) took home Defensive Player of the Year honors and Head Coach/General Manager Andy Heinze was tabbed as Coach of the Year.

“It was a great way to finish off the season,” said Heinze, who has earned three EJHL Coach of the Year honors over the course of his career. “It was a great season because we had so many players committed to our system and to each other. We felt fortunate as a coaching staff to work with such dedicated and talented group.”

Heinze is no stranger to success both on the ice and on the bench. This past season he led his team to one of their finest seasons in recent memory. Under his guidance, the Warriors finished third in the North Division and reached the EJHL Quarterfinals for the second straight season.

Prior to this season, Heinze was named EJHL Coach of the Year during his first season with the Warriors and then again in 2001. He is also a former captain of the 1989-90 Merrimack College team who began coaching at his alma mater in 1993 following a three-year professional career in Europe. He holds the Merrimack school record for most games played with 144 and currently ranks 10th on Merrimack's all-time scoring list with 77 goals and 89 assists for 166 points.

Although he boasts a long list of accolades, Heinze has always had one focus… his players.

“We love to see our players earn these league awards, but our primary goal is to make each and every player the best student-athlete that we can,” said Heinze. “I was proud of how our team came together and grew as a unit. That was very rewarding to our coaching staff.”

Spearheading the Warriors tremendous season were Sivnert and Riley.

Sivnert, who came to the EJHL from Höllviken, emerged as one of the league’s top netminders. He finished second in the league with a 2.52 goals against average and a .926 save percentage, and his three shutouts placed him third in the EJHL. He was rewarded for his remarkable season by earning a four-year scholarship to Bemidji State University.

“We thought that we had a special player in Fabian and we were not disappointed,” said Heinze, who only saw Sivnert on video prior to his signing on with the Warriors. “He has an incredible IQ when it comes to his position, and he will do great things at the next level.”

Another young prospect who will soon put his skills on display at the Division I level is Riley, an Albany Academy product who recently accepted a scholarship to University of Maine. Riley anchored his team on the blue line with a dominating presence in his own end and finished third among all EJHL defensemen in scoring with 34 points.

“He was an impact player from the start and that doesn’t happen too often with first-year players,” said Heinze of Riley who led the Warriors in +/-. “He has a strength and presence on the ice and we will enjoy watching his game grow in Orono.”

Although it will be hard for Heinze to replace the talent he will lose, he looks forward to what the future holds as tryouts for the 2012-2013 team will be held on Friday, April 20th.

“It will be hard to replace the players we will lose,” said Heinze. “But our job as coaches is to prepare these young student-athletes for the next challenge and we are confident that we have done that for this group. We will look forward to welcoming new players and hope that they will embrace the challenges and opportunities that junior-level hockey provides.”

Congratulations to Sivnert, Riley, Heinze and the entire Warriors squad on a tremendous season.
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