Talented Heat trio stays together from Mites to Midgets
There’s something special going on with the California Heat in the northern suburbs of Los Angeles, and it has been a decade in the making.
The Heat’s 16U AA team has three players on its roster than have been with the program for 10 seasons, and the trio has developed a chemistry over the years that has truly made them a band of brothers.
Hayden Goldstein, a 16-year-old right wing; Trevor Hada, a 16-year-old center; and Blake Sprow, a 14-year-old goalie, say they wouldn’t want it any other way, and playing for the Heat has been a huge part of their upbringing.
“It has really been fun for me to be with the Heat my whole youth hockey career,” Sprow said. “I don’t think moving to a new organization every year is that great, because not only would you have to adjust to all new teammates and coaches, but also a whole new organization. The Heat have been a family for me.”
Hada said the Heat program has become like a second home to him. The level of competition is just right, so he gets plenty of playing time and is always improving his skills.
“What makes this program great is it allows you to get better as the years go on, make new friends, and ultimately create memories that will last forever,” he said.
Goldstein’s experience has been similar, and over the years he has come to think of everybody associated with the Heat as family as well.
“I stuck with the Heat because of the great coaches and family feel throughout the organization,” he said. “I know I wouldn’t have it better anywhere else.”
It’s a common practice in the youth hockey world for players and their parents to always be on the lookout for their next move, with players moving to new programs regularly to pursue opportunities to play at higher levels or for different coaches. To have a group of players stick together with the same program from their first travel hockey team as Mites all the way to the Midget level is exceedingly rare.
Heat president Jennifer Sprow said that speaks volumes for what the Heat offer to young hockey players and their families, and noted that many of the players come from far-flung parts of Southern California where there are plenty of other rinks closer to home than the L.A. Kings Valley Ice Center.
“The families that are part of the Heat make our organization what it is,” she said. “That people are willing to drive from Tehachapi, Bakersfield, Huntington Beach and other far-away cities to Panorama City definitely says something. There’s really a personal touch – every player and every family matters, and nobody gets lost in it. It’s wonderful.”
Because they have played together on so many teams for so long, Goldstein, Hada and Sprow have developed not only a unique chemistry that helps them in games and practices, but long-lasting friendships off the ice.
“Blake and I have become really close this year as we have matured, and for Trevor and I, our friendship can’t be put into words,” Goldstein said. “I personally think it reflects on the ice.”
Added Hada: “Since we have known each other for so long, it would be a crime to not know what their playing style is. I know how each of them play, and it makes it easier to work with them because I know what they are going to do.”
Andrew Goldstein, the Heat’s vice president, who also handles apparel and communications for the club, has been involved with the program since Hayden started playing hockey at seven years old, and has enjoyed every minute of it.
“It’s a very inclusive organization,” he said. “The families that want to be involved really feel like they’re part of the club. We love it when the same kids are on the teams year after year.”
— Greg Ball