VJW '99 Elites Advance to Mass State Championship Finals

2013_14_NB_Tournament_Logo_medium.jpgThe VJW ’99 Elites Half Season team came together and made one impressive run at another Massachusetts State Championship title.

Taking on some of the state’s top teams, the Warriors battled through three days of fierce competition and finished as runner-up at the 2013 Massachusetts State Championship.

“We had a fun season and we came within one game of getting there,” said John Burke, head coach of the VJW ’99 Elite squad. “It was a great run and we are proud of what they accomplished and how hard they worked from start to finish.”

Along the way, the Warriors posted impressive victories. In fact, they began their state-title run on Friday with a 4-1 victory over EHF powerhouse Boston Jr. Terriers, which are ranked 25th in the nation according to www.myhockeyrankings.com.

On Saturday, the Warriors posted a 5-2 win over the Springfield Rifles which set the stage for a semifinal showdown with the South Shore Kings. Facing off against that 26th-ranked team, the Warriors came to play and made up for a loss the previous day by posting an exciting 2-1 win over the Kings to advance to the championship finals.

“We have a great group of kids who have been together for a long time,” said Burke. “Some of the teams we played this weekend were very good hockey teams, but our kids came to play.”

Although the Warriors fell in the finals to the Terriers, Burke was impressed with their hard work and dedication along the way.

“The kids were looking forward to a chance to play in Green Bay,” said Burke referring to the site of the 2014 USA Hockey National Championship. “But in the end, we told them that they came together as a team and should be proud of what they have accomplished this year both in league play and here in the state championship.”

To Burke’s point, the Warriors are coming off a season in which they posted an 8-3-3 record in a New England Hockey League (NEHL) Division that features a handful of nationally-ranked teams such as the Seacoast Spartans and New Hampshire Avalanche.

The team also – earlier this year – traveled to Proctor Academy (NH) where they took on some of the region’s top teams such as EHF talent Top Gun and the Providence Capitals. The Warriors finished with a 2-1 record in that jamboree.

“The whole emphasis of the season has been on high school hockey,” said Burke. “All but three of our kids will be competing for their high school teams this season, and we look forward to seeing them excel at that level and then welcoming them back next year.”

To say that this year has been a continuation of long-term success for the VJW ’99 Elites would be an understatement. This talented crew has an enviable resume.

Two years ago, the team won the Massachusetts State Championship title and competed at the 2012 USA Hockey National Championship in Buffalo (NY).

During the 2009-10 season, the Warriors captured an NEHL Championship title against teams that were a year older. Indeed, the mighty VJW ’99 team won the NEHL ’98 American Division title that year.

“We have added pieces along the way which you always need to do, but the most important part has been that the majority of these kids have been together for nearly seven years,” said Burke. “We have watched them develop, and they have all bought into the fact that hard work pays off.”

They claimed a second NEHL title last year when they defeated the Seacoast Spartans in the finals of 2013 NEHL Championships. 

“This is a good example of kids buying into the program and understanding what the Warriors have to offer,” said Burke.

Hats off to the entire VJW '99 Elite team on a terrific season!

Sam Bird
Drew Burke
Michael Cooper
Ryan Donnelly
Drew Eid
Jack Galligan
Nolan Heinze
Nicholas Keroack
Chris Lattini
Connor Leach
Thomas Mapstone
Michael McGreal
Ben Mirageas
Scott Murphy
Sean O'Connell
Brendan Parent
Daniel Palen
Joseph Rotondi
Michael Sarnachiarro
Cam Schmitt

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