This afternoon’s play kicks off The Frozen Four… hockey’s answer to basketball and arguably some of the most exciting sports action of the year. With last year’s history making win for the Providence Friars, even more eyes than ever will be focused on the NCAA Division 1 Championships.
As always, the tournament field is well-represented with Valley Jr. Warrior Alumni – twelve players to be exact – playing on five of the Sweet Sixteen teams. The VJW Alum have had an unmistakable impact on their team’s success this year playing for Harvard, Boston University, Providence College, Boston College and Northeastern.
Today, in first the first game played of the tourney, Northeastern University faces #3 North Dakota. Northeastern claimed its first NCAA Tournament entry in seven years when they won their first Hockey East Tournament title since 1988 with a 3-1 win over UMass Lowell at TD Garden. The Warriors are represented by Husky standouts Brendan Collier, Sam Kurker and Jake Schechter.
- Collier, a sophomore from Charlestown, was a force on the Malden Catholic High School team helping them win back to back Super Eight titles before moving on to the VJW Juniors for the 2012-2013 season.
- Kurker, from Reading, began his hockey program as a VJW 1994 Squirt and played through the youth program before heading to St. John’s Prep and then the USHL (Sioux City Musketeers). He played two seasons at Boston University before returning to the USHL. He was selected in the second round (56th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues. He returned to Northeastern as a Junior and is 6-12-18 for the season.
Also, in first round play, #4 Providence will face Minnesota-Duluth. Providence, the returning champion and #1 seed in the Northeast, makes its 12th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Jr. Warriors are represented in the Friars’ lineup by Brian Pinho.
- Pinho (6-16-25), a Sophomore from North Andover, joined VJW as a 1995 Squirt Minor and played through the youth program. He went on to play for St. John’s Prep before playing the 2013-2014 season in the USHL for Indiana and the moving on the Providence College. He was picked in the sixth round (174th overall) by the Washington Capitals in the 2013 NHL Draft.
In perhaps the most exciting first round game of the day for Boston, Harvard University faces off against Boston College. This game showcases a grand total of six VJW Alumni and is a rematch of the 2016 Beanpot Tournament in February where Boston College took Harvard by a score of 3-2. Crimson is represented by Colin Blackwell and Devin Tringale; the Eagles by Ryan Fitzgerald, Casey Fitzgerald, Colin White, JD Dudek and Brendan Silk.
- Blackwell (6-13-19), a Senior from North Andover, played most of his youth program playing for the 1993 Warriors and led his his team to the USA Hockey Nationals in 2006, 2008 and 2009 before going on to have a record breaking high school career at St. John’s Prep. He was also selected in the seventh round (194th pick overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks.
- Tringale, a Junior from Medford, played alongside high school teammate Schecter at Lawrence Academy before joining Schecter and Collier on the VJW Junior A squad during the 2012-13 season, where he was named to the to EJHL All-Star Team.
- Ryan Fitzgerald, a Junior from North Reading, played alongisde teammate Collier at Malden Catholic before joining the VJW Warrior Junior A squad for the 2012-2013 season. That year, while playing with Schecter, Collier and Tringale, he was named EJHL Rookie of the Year. Fitzgerald leads the Eagles with 22-22-44 and is just two points away from reaching the 100 career points milestone. He was selected by the Boston Bruins in the fourth round (120th overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
- White, a Freshman from Hanover, played his youth program for the 1997 VJWs before playing two seasons at Noble & Greenough. White went on to play for the U.S. National Under-17 in 2013-2014 and Under-18 team in 2014-2015 before heading to Boston College for the 2015-2016 season. White, was selected by the Ottawa Senators in the first round (21st) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and is second in line for points (19-22-41) behind fellow alum, Ryan Fitzgerald.
- Casey Fitzgerald, a Freshman and younger brother of Ryan, played for the VJW on both youth teams and the U-16 team while playing for Malden Catholic. He went on to play alongside fellow freshman White on the U.S. National Under-17 in 2013-2014 and Under-18 team in 2014-2015 before heading to Boston College for the 2015-2016 season. Both he and White were named to the 2015-2016 Pro Ambitions All-Rookie team.
- Silk, a Senior from Wakefield, played on the VJW U-16 team while also playing for Austin Prep before moving on to the National U-18 team in 2011-12 and then the 2012 U.S. National U-18 select team.
- Dudek, a Freshman from Auburn, NH, played in the VJW youth program before playing for two years at Kimball Union Academy. He moved on to play his 2014-15 season in the USHL (Dubuque Fighting Saints & Chicago Steel) before heading to Boston College.
In the final first round matchup, on Saturday, Boston University plays Denver. The Terriers are represented by Bobo Carpenter and Nick Roberto.
- Carpenter, a Freshman from North Reading, played his youth career with the 1996 Valley Jr. Warriors from Squirt Major to U16, when he moved to the USHL playing for the Sioux City Muskateers where he lead in goals. He graduated from Austin Prep, where he totaled 70 points (40g, 30a) in 66 games spanning two seasons and also played at Governor's Academy during 2011-12 season.
- Roberto, a Junior from Wakefield, played for the 1994 VJW youth program as a Squirt and on the U-16 team. He spent two seasons at Kimball Union after attending Malden Catholic.
Good Luck Jr Warriors!