VJW Prepares For Inaugural Season in the Elite Prospects League
The 2012-13 season is sure to be an exciting one with the debut of the Valley Junior Warriors’ U-16 Full Season team which will compete in the newly-formed Elite Prospects League (EPL), which is a AAA 16U Division of the Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL).
This new league was created in order to prepare players to become the EJHL and college recruits of the future. The 13-team Elite Prospects League will be directly affiliated with and operated by the existing members of the Eastern Junior Hockey League, which includes the VJW's Junior A squad.
“This league will be a tremendous opportunity for our players to be exposed to high-level hockey in an environment that will prepare them for the next level,” said Steve MacAdams, the VJW’s Director of Program Development.
The VJW U-16 Full Season team will be led by Head Coach John Cusack, who has more than 22 years of experience as a youth hockey coach and who has spent the past 11 years with the Warriors. In addition to capturing New England Hockey League (NEHL) titles over the years, Cusack’s Peewee Minor team (‘94s) became the first VJW Select team to capture a Massachusetts State title. This coming season, Cusack will expose
his U-16 squad to the EJHL’s NCAA-style practices including systems,
plays, skill development, off-ice training techniques and most
importantly, academic guidance.
This new league creates a
seamless transition process which will allow players at the 16U level to
be “promoted” to the parent clubs much sooner. During the season
players may also be rewarded with the opportunity to practice and play
with the parent EJHL teams.
“Each player will have everything
they need within each organization and will not have to worry where they
go next in the college process,” stated Commissioner Henry Lazar.
EPL will play a 24 to 26 game league schedule, which allow each
organization to play selected exhibition games and to go to some of the
best Elite Showcases for this level. It is expected that each EPL team
will be playing 50-plus games. There will be playoff series and a League
“There is no better development model for a
hockey organization than to have a player start at 15 years old, advance
through the ranks in their own organization and realize their college
dreams - all in the same organization,” said Lazar. “The EPL will give
players and parents the complete package of opportunity needed – all
under one roof.”
An emphasis will be on practice and skill
development as well as off-ice strength training and conditioning while
always focusing on academic excellence in the classroom. Parents will be
guided on the proper college process through seminars, meetings and
constant contact to help players prepare hockey resumes and video.