|VJW U16 Tier I Team
2014 USA Hockey Tier I U16 National Championship Bound
With their eyes firmly set on the 2014 USA Hockey National Championship, two VJW teams faced off against the best talent in the Bay State as part of the 2013 Massachusetts National Bound Tournament.
In the end, the Warriors captured the 2013-14 U16 Tier I Division title. It marks the third Massachusetts State Championship title for the team of VJW '97 Elites.
As a result of their outstanding performance, the VJW U16 Tier I squad – led by Head Coach Steve MacAdams – will represent the organization at the 2014 USA Hockey U16 Tier I National Championship scheduled for April 2-6, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
“I think that [our success] has a lot to do with continuity,” said MacAdams, who also serves as the VJW director of program development. “Both teams may have added a kid here or there, but for the most part they have come through the program and developed and worked hard and embraced the team-first mentality. The individual goals come from them working together as a team, and they are seeing the positive results.”
For MacAdams and his crew, this weekend’s performance was a culmination of nearly eight years of hard work and dedication.
“I have had most of these kids since they were eight years old,” said MacAdams. “We have been together for a long time, and I know that there are a lot of kids who will go on to play Division I hockey from this team.”
Over the past four years, the Warriors have advanced to the USA Hockey National Championship three times. In 2010, they advanced to the semifinals and then in 2012 they made it all the way to the quarterfinals.
While success has followed this talented group, they have not been without adversity.
This past year, for instance, the team lost – arguably – four of its top players.
Noah Hanifin, Casey Fitzgerald and Colin White were all selected to play for the U.S. National Under-17 Team, while Cam Askew - previously a Boston University recruit – was drafted 11th overall in the first round of the QMJHL Draft by Drummondville.
“Even without [those players], these kids have realized their potential,” said MacAdams. “It was never really about one or two players. It was about the whole team.”
In a display of what truly defined his team, MacAdams went against standard procedure during the trophy ceremony. Instead of announcing his roster player by player, he asked the entire team to come up and accept the trophy.
It was an appropriate finish to a three-day stretch of dominating hockey for the Warriors.
The team began its State Championship title bid with a solid 4-1 win over the North Stars. The players followed that up with two victories on Saturday – a 4-2 decision against the Boston Bandits and then a 7-3 win verses Neponset Valley.
Come Sunday, the Warriors proved that they were ready for the championship challenge.
In the semifinals, the squad posted a 5-2 win over the Whalers and then blanked the Jr Bruins by a dominating score of 6-0 in the finals.
“We played our best two games this morning and our best game tonight,” said MacAdams. “We had contributions from everyone from the goaltending on out. We had goals from all three lines, great penalty killing and short-handed goals.”
During the fall season that dates back to September 9th, the Warriors have been simply outstanding. They have posted a 25-2-1 record and currently rank 27th in the nation, according to www.myhockeyrankings.com.
The Warriors will now put their gold and blue jerseys aside and focus on their upcoming high school season. It won’t be long, however, before they reconnect and begin preparation for the 2013-14 USA Hockey National Championships.
Congratulations go out to all of the players on a job well done!