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VJW Junior A Players College League Awards & Announce Future Plans
fitzgerald_400.jpgThe season may have ended for the Valley Jr Warriors during the semifinal round of the EJHL Playoffs, but there is still a distinctive buzz around Haverhill. Not only do members of the Warriors continue commit to top Division I and III schools, but one of their own received top league recognition.

Earlier this month, Ryan Fitzgerald (shown right) - the high-flying forward who will take his talents to Boston College next fall - was named the EJHL Rookie of the Year and then just this week Gus Harms announced that he has committed to Northeastern University.

"Our goal is to help these players get to the next level and we are thrilled that they are getting the opportunity to play at the next level,"
said Andy Heinze, the VJW head coach/general manager. "They all worked hard, so it's nice to see them get the recognition from the league and college coaches."

Harms becomes the second Warrior from this year's team to commit to Northeastern. He follows in the footsteps of
Jake Schechter, who announced his intentions of playing for the Huskies back in January. The 6-1, 200-pound Harms played in 48 games this season and posted 23 points.

"It's a real testament to their hard work and dedication," said Heinze.

This latest accomplishment for Fitzgerald is particularly impressive given that he played in just 32 of his team’s 46 games and posted 17 goals and 19 assists.

“It shows how much respect he has from the players and coaches in this league,” said Heinze. “Fitzy was out quite a bit because he was playing for the national team and in high-end tournaments and we supported that. The team is important, but you don’t want to hold these kids back.”

harmes_gus_630x400.jpgFitzgerald is one of the many VJW players who has deep roots with the Warrior program. His younger brother Casey Fitzgerald plays for the VJW ’97 Elites and was part of a Malden Catholic team that won its third consecutive Super 8 title. The comfort level that the family had with Heinze and the VJW program was one of the reasons why Fitzgerald chose to stay close to home this past season.

“There is a real trust factor and the bottom line is that the parents understand that we support the kids first and foremost,” said Heinze, a three-time EJHL Coach of the Year. “It isn’t just about wins and losses for us. While we all want to win, it is about overall development and preparing the players for the next level.”

Prospective players also appreciate the fact that Heinze is the only EJHL coach who has collegiate-level playing and coaching experience. He still holds the Merrimack College school record for most games played (144) and ranks 10th on Merrimack’s all-time scoring list with 166 points. He also spent nine years as an assistant coach with his alma mater.

“We strongly feel that if you do a good job the kids will want to be here and will be proud to be a Warrior,” said Heinze.

That type of commitment was seen down the stretch as the Warriors finished the season by winning 11 of its last 12 games. Heinze was especially happy with the play of Albee Daley, John Needham, Joe Lappin and Chris Tracy who all emerged as impact players.

Daley underwent major knee surgery seven games into last season. He made the decision to return to the Warriors this year and peaked at the right time.

“Albee came back from Christmas break and you could tell that he felt better about his knee,” said Heinze. “His mindset was about playing and enjoying the game rather than on where he would play in college. That served him very well and now he is getting some good looks.”

Tracy joined the team late in the year and helped to fill the void left when
Schechter suffered a season-ending injury.

“The addition of Chris made us deeper and stronger,” said Heinze.

Needham - much like Fitzgerald - spent his time playing and watching his younger brother compete for the Warriors. In fact, Needham’s mother Regina was watching John compete in the EJHL semifinals while his brother Craig was leading the VJW ’99 Elites to a New England Hockey League Championship title.

“Needham is a guy who can play in any situation,” said Heinze. “He is a physical kid who can move the puck well. He is still getting stronger and will be a really good college player.”

Lappin, meanwhile, was tabbed by Heinze as the player who was most improved this season. He not only has roots in the Warrior program, but his family legacy is matched by few. His father Pete is the career scoring leader at St. Lawrence University and three of his three uncles also spent their collegiate hockey careers at St. Lawrence before playing professional hockey.

And then there is his other uncle - Dave Sacco - who was a standout player at Boston University and currently a coach in the VJW organization.

“He just played great down the stretch,” said Heinze of Lappin. “He was a midget player coming into the season and he was a real factor for us down the stretch and into the playoffs. He is very consistent and I foresee some Division I opportunities for him to follow in the footsteps of his father and his uncles.”

While those players consider their options for next fall, here is a rundown on the college commitments from other members of the 2012-13 VJW Junior A squad.

  • Ryan Fitzgerald - Boston College
  • Devin Tringale - Harvard University
  • Brendan Collier - Boston University
  • Nick Leonard - St. Anselm College
  • Julian Fialkow - Colgate University
  • Jake Schechter - Northeastern University
  • Gus Harmes - Northeastern University
  • Ryan Badger - University of Maine
  • Jake Kulevich - Colgate University
  • Joe Scarfo - Curry College
  • Marcus Moles - SUNY-Fredonia

INDEX
VJW Junior A Players College League Awards & Announce Future Plans
Colin Mulvey Wins 13th Joe Concannon Award
VJW 00 Elites Win NEHL 00 American Championship Title
Super 8; VJW Reunion!
Season Ends for VJW Junior A Team in EJHL Semifinals
Weekend Sweep Sets Stage for EJHL Semifinals for VJW Junior A Team
VJW 00 Selects & 05 Elites Advance to Finals of HNE Playoffs
It's Here - EJHL Quarterfinals Set for This Weekend in Haverhill
VJW Junior A Team Cruises Into EJHL Quarterfinals... Again!
Just Announced - VJW Midget & Junior Tryouts Set for April
Former VJW Star Loren Barron Leads Top-Ranked Quinnipiac
2013-14 Junior & Midget Schedule
Former VJW Standouts Have Sochi Olympics on Their Minds
Former Player & Coach Marc Griffin to Join the VJW Coaching Staff
VJW Junior A Team Sweeps; Extends Winning Streak to 4 Games
Brendan Leahy & Jake Schechter Earn Player of the Week Honors
VJW Junior A Defenseman Jake Schechter Commits to Northeastern
Dave Sacco Takes On Double (Coaching) Duty for 2013-14 Season
VJW Seeking a Mite Minor (2006) Coach for 2013-14 Season
VJW 02 Selects Win Green Mountain Tournament In Exciting Shoot-Out
Fitzgerald Makes January Mid-Term Rankings for 2013 NHL Entry Draft
Defense & Goaltending Key for Junior A Team Heading into 2013
Mark Your Calendars Today for 2013 VJW Tournaments
VJW 03 Elites Compete in the 2012 Summit Series Challenge Cup
John Jackson & Ryan Fitzgerald Named EJHL Players of the Week
VJW Junior A Team Enjoys Weekend Sweep Over Portland
VJW 00 Selects Find Time to Give Back to Their Community
VJW 02 Selects Defeat Islanders to Win 2012 Turkey Tournament
Sam Kurker Scores Game Winner; Leads BU Over Top-Ranked UNH
VW Junior A Star John Jackson Proves He is Here to Stay
VJW & Long Island Gulls Come Together In a Time of Need
VJW Teams Shine at 2012 Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament
VJW '04 Selects Look to Bring Cheer to Troops This Holiday Season
Ryan Fitzgerald Scores Four Goals at 2012 World Junior A Challenge
VJW Junior A Team Continues Its EJHL Dominance
Fast Hockey to Live Stream at Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament
2012 Warrior Thanksgiving Tournament Comes to Haverhill
2012 Warrior Classic Kicks Off on Friday
Ryan Fitzgerald Named to USA Junior Select Team
VJW 05 Elite Player Receives Weekly NEHL Honor
VJW Junior Teams Continue to Win Big in League Play
Ryan Fitzgerald Stars in All-American Prospects Game
VJW Junior A Team Remains Undefeated in EJHL Play
VJW Junior A Team Off to Impressive & Fast Start
Brian Pinho Accepts Hockey Scholarship to Providence College
VJW Junior A Team Featured in USA Junior Hockey Magazine
Fitzgerald & Tringale to compete in All-American Prospects Game
VJW Teams Perform Well at 2012 Warrior National Showcase
Blackwell Shines at 2012 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp