Warriors Take Home Three EJHL End-of-Season Awards
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
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
Congratulations to Sivnert, Riley, Heinze and the entire Warriors squad on a tremendous season.