From the VJW to the NHL: Chris Kreider and Corey Schneider
Chris Kreider (top) and Corey Schneider are just two recent VJW success stories
With two of its talented teams coming off impressive performances at the 2013 Massachusetts State Championships, it is no surprise to learn that many of the program’s players have gone on to great careers.
Two former Warriors – Chris Kreider and Corey Schneider – are grabbing national headlines as they have gained prominence in the NHL. They are both products of the VJW youth development program.
“It just goes to show that we are able to develop players of all ages,” said Steve MacAdams, the VJW director of program development. “While many of our players begin at the mite level, our coaches have been able to help players of all ages with the end goal of helping them develop as much as possible.”
Chris Kreider – Forward for the New York Rangers
While the hundreds of young players in the VJW organization will proudly wear their Boston Bruins attire around the rinks, there is no question that they all have a soft spot for the New York Rangers.
After all, they have heard the stories about how Kreider began his competitive hockey career as a Warrior mite player. He enjoyed the same type of skills sessions that these youngsters attend every Tuesday afternoon.
In fact, Kreider told the Warriors program that he still – to this day – hones his skills using some of the drills he learned while a player in the organization.
His story is one that many of the players would hope to emulate.
After spending more than 10 years in a VJW jersey, Kreider went on to a successful high school career at Phillips Academy and Masconomet before committing to Boston College where he spent three successful seasons.
Days after leading his Boston College team to an NCAA title, Kreider signed a deal with the New York Rangers (he was a first round and 19th overall pick by the Rangers in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft) and joined the team during its 2012 NHL Playoff run. He tied an NHL record for most playoff goals scored in a single postseason by a player who had not yet skated in a regular-season game.
Kreider is currently enjoying his third professional season with the Rangers organization. After beginning this year in Hartford (with the team’s AHL affiliate), Kreider was moved up and is now seen as a key player for the Rangers future.
A recent article by Hockeysfuture.com – considered a top online prospects resource – noted Kreider’s importance to that organization.
The upper portion of the New York Rangers Top 20 has not changed for several cycles. Chris Kreider remains the premier player among a very talented group, while Danny Kristo, obtained in a July 2013 trade with Montreal, now occupies the number two position.
In just 11 games this year, Kreider is the team’s fourth leading producer with two goals and eight assists.
He still finds time to connect with his VJW roots.
Cory Schneider – Goaltender for the New Jersey Devils
Schneider has much in common with Kreider. They were both top NHL Draft picks (Schneider was 26th overall) and played hockey first at Phillips Andover Academy and then Boston College.
But while Kreider had a special bond with many of the VJW coaches, Schneider enjoyed a unique relationship with Brian Daccord from Stop It Goaltending.
Daccord – who now oversees the goaltending program for the VJW program – first met Schneider when he was in the process of transferring from Marblehead High School to Phillips Academy.
“The neat thing about Cory is, when he comes to train, he likes to go with the group,” said Daccord in an article that appeared in the Tri-Town Transcript last season. “I’ve offered him the opportunity to do stuff independently, but he really integrates well with the other guys, and it’s a good experience for them, some of whom are in the minor pro leagues and college.”
Schneider is one of the many top clients that Daccord has worked with over the years. Included in that impressive list are NHL goalies such as Scott Clemmensen and former Bruin and Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) winner Andrew Raycroft.
Now 27 years old, Schneider has spent the better part of his NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks organization. On June 2, 2010, Schneider signed a two-year, \$1.8 million contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks.
He gained headlines this past season when he was traded to the New Jersey Devils. He is currently sharing time between the pipes with future NHL Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur.
In just eight games with the Devils, Schneider’s numbers are impressive. He has a 2.09 goals against average and .915 save percentage.
A History of Success
In addition to these current NHL success stories, the VJW program has watched hundreds of its players excel at the next level.
To wit, the program has developed 15 Professional Players (NHL, AHL, ECHL, Europe) and more than 100 NCAA Division I & III players who have graduated from top universities.
Here is a list of the Professional Players from the NHL, AHL, ECHL or in Europe.
Chris Kreider – NY Rangers (NHL) & Boston College (Hockey East)
Joe Ryan – LA Kings (NHL), Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL), Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
Cory Schneider – Vancouver (NHL) & Boston College (Hockey East)
Michael Hutchins – San Jose (NHL), Cardiff Devils (UK-EIHL) & UNH (Hockey East)
Andrew Andricopoulos – Boston (NHL), Phoenix (ECHL), Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)