Ex-‘mates Power, Hoshaw riding Wave out east
Longtime friends and former California Wave teammates Troy Power and Steven Hoshaw ran into each other again recently.
That two Californians would face off in NCAA Division I hockey is nothing new, but the circumstances leading up to their meeting in Amherst, Mass., last month – their second college game against each other in less than a year – have an interesting back story.
Power, a redshirt senior forward for the University of Massachusetts, and Hoshaw a senior defenseman for American International College play roughly 30 minutes apart three time zones away from where they grew up. And both are captains of their respective teams.
The irony is they might not have met in California had their parents not committed to drive them long distances to play for the then Westminster-based Wave. Hoshaw’s trek from Vista in north San Diego County was nearly 70 miles, while Power traveled more than 85 miles from Camarillo in Ventura County.
“Steven has been a close friend since our first year together on the Wave,” Power said. “I’m so happy for him, and it’s awesome to square off against him. It’s one of those friendships where there was an instant connection. The next time we see each other we can pick right up.”
Added Hoshaw, “Troy’s a great buddy. He has always been a solid player and one of the most coachable I’ve ever been around. He has the fundamentals down perfectly. He might not be the flashiest player, but he leads by example.”
For all of the talents Power and Hoshaw bring to the ice, it’s their soft skills that have separated them from the pack, coaches and teammates say.
“First and foremost, Troy approaches his responsibility as a hockey player and teammate the right way,” UMass coach John Micheletto said. “He’s attentive to details. Guys respect the way he prepares.
“Second, he has genuine concern for others. It’s very obvious whether they need someone to talk to or some advice.
“Third, he is very, very level-headed. He’s never too high or too low. He’s the same guy every day. The consistency of his personality makes him very trustworthy and accountable. That’s rare. I feel really lucky to have him.”
That’s a sentiment AIC coach Gary Wright expressed about Hoshaw, whose standing among his teammates is unquestioned.
“He was elected by his teammates, almost unanimously, and players usually figure it out pretty well,” Wright said. “It’s reflective of his leadership skills.
“He’s very hard-working, and he practices with a great deal of energy and enthusiasm. He leads by example and elevates our practices.
“He’s a strong student, too. On and off the ice and in our college community, he’s a great representative of our program. He’s very mature and responsible.”
The captain’s roles gained more importance this season for the two schools, which are 22 miles apart in the Pioneer Valley, because both have young rosters. UMass has 10 freshmen and six sophomores, while AIC has 14 underclassmen. Shepherding the younger players is a responsibility that both take very seriously.
The pair took divergent paths to their college collision course.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Power was hooked on hockey at age 4 or 5, playing street and roller hockey after attending a Kings game. A few years later he started playing ice hockey in Valencia before playing for the Wave, a stint that was capped by winning a Midget 16U AAA title at the USA Hockey Nationals in 2006.
“My parents made huge sacrifices to drive me, and it was taxing, but without that I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Power said. “Winning Nationals with the Wave was one of the highlights of my hockey career.”
After a season with the Los Angeles Jr. Kings, Power played with Tri-City in the United States Hockey League for one season before going to Omaha, where he played with a half-dozen Californians at various times. He also encountered some adversity, sustaining a knee injury that cost him a quarter of the 2008-09 season.
“Despite that, he always brought a lot of joy to the team, he was always smiling,” Wave and Omaha teammate Dennis Brown said. “He’s a leader.”
Power bounced back with a 28-goal season in his third season of Junior then headed to Amherst, where another knee injury ended his junior season. Rather the lament what might have been, the psychology major is grateful for the journey.
“I am a 24-year-old redshirt senior. I had a couple of knee injuries so I had to play three years of Junior,” he said. “It allowed me more time to develop. Same at UMass. That longer lifespan in hockey allowed me to progress. I can’t say enough about the process. If I can play after (college), that’s great. But I wouldn’t change anything.”
And play he does. Micheletto uses Power in every situation, and the forward is a mainstay late in games.
“His skill set is pretty versatile,” the coach said. “He has a very good hockey IQ and a quick release. He’s ultra-responsible on the other side of the puck.”
That side, defense, is where Hoshaw has thrived since he started playing with the La Jolla Jaguars and San Diego Jr. Gulls. Big at an early age, the 6-0, 210-pounder makes no bones about his game.
“I’m a stay-at-home defenseman. I take pride in that,” the sports management major said. “I take more pride in shutting guys down than scoring.”
Said Wright, “Defense is without a doubt part of his makeup. He can add to our offense but he thrives on defense.”
Hoshaw left California after his Bantam AAA season with the Wave to attend Culver Military Academy in Indiana. He would not trade the experience for anything.
“It was the best experience. It prepared me for the world outside of hockey,” Hoshaw said. “Leadership was a huge factor there. They taught self-discipline, time management, a lot of things.”
It also allowed him to pursue other interests.
“In California I played football and lacrosse, and I loved the opportunity to mold numerous games into one another,” he said. “I also play lacrosse at AIC. I enjoy interacting with different athletes. Each team takes winning very seriously, and I enjoy staying active.”
– Chris Bayee