Haverhill, MA- A field of the top junior players from the Northeast and beyond will come together in Haverhill beginning on November 11th to take part in the 2010 Warrior Classic.
This annual gathering has become a draw for the top teams from the Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL) and the Empire Hockey League as well as a division of Independent Leagues squads from across the country.
This year’s event – which will be held from November 11 through November 14 – will be headlined by the host team Valley Jr Warriors. Head Coach Andy Heinze has his young squad once again competing for the top spot in the EJHL’s Northern Division.
Thus far in the 2010-11 season, the Warriors have seen its players come together to post impressive wins including a recent 1-0-1 weekend where the team outpaced Rochester by a score of 4-3 and then held on for a key 1-1 tie against the Huskies.
“With a strong field competing this year, we are looking to build momentum at this year’s Warrior Classic,” said Heinze, a two-time EJHL Coach of the Year. “In addition to some exciting league contests, we are also excited to welcome one of the largest Independent divisions in recent memory. It should be a great weekend.”
Heinze has a lot to look forward to this season as he has seen many of his young players stepping up to the challenge of competing against some of the country’s top junior programs. First-year player Trevor Braun, for example, currently leads the Warriors in scoring with nine goals and four assists in 14 games. Braun, a former Phillips Andover standout, came through with one goal and one assist – his fourth multi-point games of the season – in a tough 4-3 loss against the always tough Junior Bruins. Also leading the team offensively by posting double-digits points are Zach Sarig and Eric Nemec.
Come this month at the Warrior Classic, the Warriors will face off against EJHL foes including the Philadelphia Revolution (Friday, November 12th @ 5:25 p.m.) and Rochester (Saturday, November 13th @ 12:00 p.m.). Spectators can also look forward to watching the Bridgewater Bandits, Bay State Breakers, New Hampshire Monarchs, New England Huskies, New England Junior Falcons, South Shore Kings and Apple Core.
Also looking to showcase their skills this week are a handful of Empire Hockey League teams including the VJW's Junior B team led by Head Coach Stu Irving. The Warriors will take on the Monarchs (Thursday, November 11th @ 8:45 p.m.), Brewster (Friday, November 12th @ 5:15 p.m.) and Apple Core (Saturday, November 13th @ 12:10 p.m.).
When the EJHL teams are not competing in critical league games, spectators and scouts (both collegiate and professional) will enjoy watching Independent teams that hail from across North America. Returning to defend its 2009 title is the National Sports Academy. Based out of Lake Placid (NY), NSA will once again be challenged in Haverhill by the 2009 runner-ups from Canada Stanstead College. Also vying for the 2010 Warrior Classic title are the following Sainte-Foy Dynamiques, Ontario Hockey Academy, Bridgton Academy, Atlanta Junior Knights and the Little Bruins as well as newcomers New Jersey Colonials, Florida Eels, Palm Beach Junior Hawks and the Tampa Bay Juniors.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)