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Heat recognized with ‘beyond huge’ achievement of USA Hockey Model Association status


Heat-LogoThe California Heat has now accomplished something just 23 other youth hockey associations across the country have – attained USA Hockey Model Association status.

With this designation, each has committed to fully implement programming dedicated to age-appropriate, age-specific skill development in accordance with USA Hockey’s American Development Model (ADM) throughout the 8U, 10U and 12U age classifications.


The Heat joined the Los Angeles Jr. Kings and McKinney (Tex.) North Stars last month in being recognized by USA Hockey.

Based in the San Fernando Valley (Panorama City), the organization is one of the oldest in the Southern California Amateur Hockey Association.

“Our previous president, Jennifer Sprow, and I reached out to USA Hockey to express our appreciation for what was being done regarding the ADM and had a firm belief that if we implemented the ADM, our players and program would greatly benefit from it,” said Heat director of hockey Alec Benson-Dunn. “We were put in contact with Ken Martel (the technical director of the ADM and a USA Hockey regional manager), and he guided us through every step and task and presented us with valuable knowledge and insight. He went the extra mile to attend our practices, meet with and observe our coaches and teams. Without him, this would not have been possible. It has truly been such a pleasure working hand in hand with someone so skilled.”

Sprow noted that being a Model Association is truly an honor and a privilege to the Heat.

“The achievement of being a USA Hockey Model Association is beyond huge for the California Heat,” Sprow said. “We pride ourselves in providing the best experience for all our athletes and their families. I am extremely prideful of our receiving this unprecedented designation as a USA Hockey Model Association under my tenure as the California Heat president. Being one of 24 youth hockey associations to achieve the designation nationwide is an amazing accomplishment that every member of the California Heat family is extremely honored and proud of.

usa_hockey_model_association_image_large“We will continue our quest of exceeding the highest standards for youth hockey player development, continually plan for future improvements and maintain our commitment to the development philosophies, training guidelines and game play execution set by USA Hockey.”

The Heat joins the Jr. Kings, Anaheim Amateur Hockey Association and Ontario Jr. Reign as Model Associations based out of California.

So what was the process in applying for Model Association status?

“Jennifer Sprow helped us get in contact with USA Hockey and facilitated our relationship with them and I took action in implementing the ADM,” said Benson-Dunn. “Our Mite director, Aram Defterderian, has been crucial in implementing the program to the youngest players. Our head coaches Smbat Defterderian, Colby Mead and Hunter Jensen were key in implementing the USA Hockey curriculum to our older teams. Now that we have fully implemented the ideas and philosophies that USA Hockey has provided, we firmly believe that our players will experience the most productive training needed to propel them in whichever path they choose in hockey in a fun and challenging environment.”

“The California Heat philosophically agreed with and was committed to the implementation and execution requirements of USA Hockey to become a Model Association,” added Sprow. “Alec took the lead in the ADM implementation by adhering to the extensive list of requirements. His planning, preparation and execution of those requirement both on and off the ice, assisted by our age division coordinators and skill-specific coaches who were integral in implementing the USA Hockey curriculum, all contributed to the California Heat being named a USA Hockey Model Association.

“Hosting of required events (i.e. Try Hockey For Free) run by our board, coaches, current and past California Heat players, and sponsors, has brought the organization together to share our love and passion for the game of hockey with others.”

— Matt Mackinder

(Sept. 19, 2018)

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