Beginning last month, thousands of Valley Hockey League players began their quest for a championship title. The 2015 VHL Championships were a culmination of a fun and exciting season that began back in September. During that time teams competed valiantly and parity was maintained in order to provide the most competitive experience for all.
At the end of the championship run, the tally was taken and a total of 180 medals were given out to 82 different VHL programs. Following conference finals there were 31 League championships that took place between the American and National conferences. Cross conference parity was evident as the American edged out the National by a mere 3 wins. The final total was 18 American wins and 13 for the National conference.
** Click here to view the final 2015 VHL Conference medal count **
Leading the overall medal charge as well as the gold medal count was Winchester with eight medals (six golds and two silvers). It was an impressive performance by the 15 Winchester teams earning three more medals than last season. The Peewee “AA1” team clinched the medal count in Winchester’s last semifinal on Friday April 10th when they advanced to their championship game with a 3-2 win over Methuen. They eventually went on to win the Peewee North American “AA” with a 2-0 victory over Woburn adding to Winchester’s gold medal total.
Newton finished their playoff campaign just two medals behind with 3 golds and 3 silvers. This matched their performance back in 2010 when Newton tallied 2 golds and 4 silvers that earned them a 3rd place finish in that medal race.
Just one behind Newton were five programs – Concord, Acton-Boxboro, No. Andover, Andover and the Jr. Sharks. The most impressive performance was put on by Concord NH, who entered the playoffs with just 6 teams. Not only did Concord reach the final in 5 of those 6 divisions, but they went a perfect 5 for 5 in the gold medal games. Concord NH finished just one behind Winchester in the Gold medal category with a total of 5 and was accomplished with 10 fewer teams. In order to rack up that many gold medals Concord amassed a seemingly impossible record of 19-1 throughout the VHL playoffs.
Also in the gold medal hunt, Acton-Boxboro posted 4-1 record in championship games to finish one behind Concord and two back of Winchester to take solo 3rd in the gold category. Four programs - Newton, Melrose, Nashoba and Reading claimed 3 gold medals.
Not to be overshadowed by the “Program” medal counts; there were many outstanding team efforts. Four teams finished the regular season in last place but went on playoff runs that led to a spot in the championship game in their respective division. Although all four eventually lost in the Finals they can certainly be proud of their impressive playoff runs.
Melrose Bantam “A” in the East American “A” division was the #9 seed – Play In game 2-1 win over Chelmsford, Quarterfinal 3-2 win over Andover, Semifinal 2-1 win over Haverhill. Melrose eventually lost in the final to Reading 0-1.
Wilmington Squirt “AA” in the West National “AA” division was the #8 seed – Quarterfinal game 1-0 win over Acton-Boxboro, Semifinal game 2-0 win over Tewksbury, Final 3-4 loss to Andover.
Maine Peewee “AA in the West American “AA” was the #8 seed – Quarterfinal game 6-4 win over NH East, Semifinal game 3-2 over Wilmington, Final 0-3 loss to Chelmsford.
Lynnfield Peewee “AA” in the East American “AA” was the #7 seed – Quarterfinal game 3-2 win over Hollis, Semifinal game 2-0 win over Twin City, Final 1-5 loss to Lynnfield.
Photos from VHL Championship games continue to be posted online (click here to view a gallery of images), but teams are encouraged to send us those photos. All you have to do is "friend" us on Facebook and then tag Valley League in your photo. Be sure to mark the post status to public so that we can share your photos with the rest of the league.
Highlights from all playoff games will be posted and made available in coming days!