Header November

Bears to Crusaders…

  • By John Harrington

As a kid, I had the amazing experience of playing on the same team as my older (much older) brother for a few years. Of course, I had to use all his old equipment, and to save even more money our father insisted we take all of our team pictures…together, side by side. So, when I heard about the Russell boys, a flood of memories came back. However, not only are Hayden and Garrett brothers, they are twins, who have spent their entire hockey careers on the same teams (Ducks, Bears, Kings).

Over the years, many had told them that the day would soon come when they would inevitably be split up. That day still has not arrived. When it was time to evaluate the prep school route, and many of their talented teammates were leaving California, their family made the decision to keep the boys local. At the time, Hayden and Garrett felt a little FOMO as their friends moved faraway to be compete at the highest levels back East and in Canada.

However, staying home paid off as they joined the 15O AAA Kings and won the National Championship. Their stellar performances garnered the attention of the Holy Cross Crusaders of Worcester, Massachusetts, and they were both soon offered Div 1 scholarships. I share this story as it reveals yet another path for our local athletes as they evaluate their next steps. As their father told me of the decision to stay close to home, they had to stop, take a deep breath, and shut out all the noise of what everybody else was doing. This pause gave them time to really assess all options which were best for the family (not just the athlete). In this case, staying local made sense, as many talented players (and a former Bears) formed a team that took home the biggest banner on the national stage! As we know, big banners get big attention, and it was during this run that Hayden and Garrett got the exposure they worked so hard for. They are driven, focused, and quite frankly, just down to earth guys. I interviewed them separately as both had their own unique voice and perspective. A classic brotherly moment occurred when Garrett, perfect timing, Zoom-bombed Hayden, over his shoulder, peeking into his room half-way through our interview. On purpose? We will never know. But Hayden, such a pro, was able to keep on point. It’s clear these Russell boys will be just fine come media day!


Why hockey? (TEN WORDS OR LESS)

Hayden: Hockey builds character, work ethic, the fastest, hardest team sport.

Garrett: Hockey teaches lifelong skills like hard work and perseverance.


When did you start playing? Who inspired you?

Hayden: I started skating when I was 2 years old then began playing organized games when I was 4 years old. My parents inspired me to play.

Garrett: I started playing hockey when I was two years old. My dad inspired me to play.


Years at the Bears? Best Bear Memory?

Hayden: I played one year for the Bears, and my best Bear memory was winning the Pacific District Championship and moving on to Nationals.

Garrett: I spent one year with the bears and my favorite memory is winning the Pacific District and advancing to Nationals.


Nickname among your hockey friends?

Hayden: Russ

Garrett: G-Rus

Which coach/mentor/role model stays with you, to this day, in the back of your mind? How did they elevate your game?

Hayden: Peter Torsson has been and still is a coach, and mentor that stays with me to this day. Peter had me think the game beyond the x’s and o’s which built my hockey IQ and the reasonings behind plays.

Garrett: Peter Torsson will always be a coach that helped elevate my game. He believed in me and helped me to see the game in a smarter way.

How did you balance studying, practice, and lots of missed school days?

Hayden: The way that I balanced studying, missing lots of school days, and playing hockey was time management, communication, and hard work. The advice I have for the classroom is to make sure you communicate a ton with your teachers, by sending them the days you will be gone and building a relationship with them over the school year.

Garrett: I balance all my school and hockey by always working with my teachers and never falling too far behind.

Which exercise gives you the biggest advantage on the ice?

Hayden: The exercise that gave me and our Bears team the biggest advantage on the ice was our off-ice workouts and conditioning. Peter pushed our team past our limits, and we knew that working harder than the other teams would pay off when it really mattered.

Garrett: I think just straight up conditioning has given me the biggest advantage on the ice.

Where are you playing now and how did you get there?

Hayden: Last year I played for the Jr. Kings 15O AAA team which won nationals. Now I am playing with the 16 AAA Kings team. The way that I got here was by staying in California and not worrying about leaving for prep school, but by developing at home.

Garrett: I am now playing on the 16 AAA Kings team. I joined the Kings one year ago after my 14’s year at the Bears.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hayden: In 10 years, I will be 26, and I think I see myself hopefully playing pro hockey just a few years out of playing college hockey.

Garrett: Hopeful still playing hockey.

Who would win in a hockey fight, Connor McGregor (on skates) vs. Bob Probert?

Hayden: Without a question, Bob Probert would win because he is on ice and has way better balance.

Garrett: 100% Bob Probert.

Best celebrity sighting at Pickwick Ice in Burbank? If not at Pickwick, any other rink in L.A.?

Hayden: When I am at the rink, I see a lot of NHL players coming in and out of the rink, the players I see most frequently would probably be Anze Kopitar.

Garrett: Teemu Selanne.


 The longest drive you/parents made for a hockey game?

Hayden: The longest drive we have made for a hockey game would be for a tournament in Arizona.

Garrett: The longest drive was driving up to San Jose.


Favorite hockey slang that confuses your civilian friends?

Hayden: Lettuce

Garrett: Dust


You have a Bears Time Machine (patent pending), you fly back to your first day of Mites, what advice would you give yourself?

Hayden: If I had a Bears time machine and I could fly back to my first day of mites the advice I would give myself is skating is the most important thing to work on when you are young. Also, to make sure to enjoy every moment of it even when it’s hard.

Garrett: To try my best to go to every practice and game with intention.


Look at your phone, what is the very last song you listened to? Be honest! No reason or apology necessary (we all have that one song).

Hayden: Tennessee Whiskey

Garrett: Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang.


Any real-world experience that made you think “Yes, that’s just like in hockey.”  What did you learn from your hockey life, which has helped you in the real world (school, job, friendships)?

Hayden: I have learned lots of things from my hockey life that have helped me in the real world. Skills in particular would be teamwork, leadership, and effort. In school, jobs, and friendships when you are able to apply these traits you are destined for success.

Garrett: Sometimes the more skilled team doesn't always win.

14UAA1 Shine at Thanksgiving’s Tinseltown!

14AA1 Champ Image

By John Harrington


Coach Justin Dyke’s squad went 4-0-1 and beat the California Wave in the Thanksgiving Tinseltown tourney at the TSC! The Bears, rallying around their teammate, Daniel Sun, who tragically lost his father earlier in the week, took an early command in the contest and never looked back. After a hard-fought game by the Wave, players and coaches (from both teams), took a knee at center ice in memory and prayer for our adored hockey dad, Yusheng Sun. It was an emotional display of brotherhood that transcended the 60-minute battle on the ice. The banner was subsequently given to Daniel in the locker room in honor and tribute to his father. Much respect to the Wave’s players and coaches in showing their love and comradery in this ultimate act of sportsmanship. Pure brotherhood.

Together Image

8U B1 bring back the banner at Thanksgiving’s Tinseltown!

8U Champ

our warrior


During the "Hockey Fights Cancer" night the LA Kings game on November 16th at the Crypto.com our warrior, Jack Pollard joined the Kings starting lineup on the Blue Line during the National Anthem.

Jack is a two-year warrior against brain cancer. His resilience shines through 9 weeks in the hospital, 4 surgeries, 36 days of chemo, and 30 days of radiation. Still smiling and still skating!

Our Bears community is so very proud of you!

The Bear Facts…


Don’t forget about your ticket for Bears Night…

We are looking for a great turnout for the L.A. Kings “Bears Night” at the Crypto on January 2nd. Reach out to your team manager for the CODE to get your complimentary ticket. With that CODE go to: https://fevo.me/goldenbearsclub


If those penalty boxes could talk…


Did you know that our rink was established in 1964 and is one of the oldest clubs in California? What does this mean to you besides bragging rights? I’ll tell you! It means special anniversary swag, apparel, and a January event you can actually look forward to! Stay tuned, we are only 30 days away!


The December To-Do List…


Watch ESPN’s “Kings Ransom” episode of 30 for 30. Uncover the real truth of the most shocking trade in NHL history (perhaps in all sports) of Wayne Gretzky.


Read the true story of a Transylvanian goalie, struggling to make ends meet, turns to a life of crime as a bank robber in “The Ballad of a Whiskey Robber.” (Age 18 +)


Listen to SportsNet’s “32 Thoughts: The Podcast.” Hockey fans already know the name, but this is not the blog. Hosted by Jeff Marek and NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman, this is a weekly deep dive into the biggest news and interviews from the hockey world.


Eat a legendary breakfast burrito at Corner Cottage, a cozy spot to grub after those sleepy 7AM practices. Just make sure your kid doesn’t wear their scented gear inside (especially those gloves!). You can find it at 310 South Victory Blvd, Burbank.

Buy a neck guard from one of our own! Reach out to Bear’s Hockey Mom, Rachel Burte, who designed an amazing solution to protect our hockey players. The product, HOCI IA ARMOR, was developed a few years ago and has received outstanding reviews. www.Hockeymomsproshop.com. Let me know if you have any questions. johnnyharrington@live.com


Follow @forgottenmadness_la and explore the rich history of our incredible city, Los Angeles. Simply magic. The landscape of where we came from, who we are and where we are going. Every once in a while, you will find a vintage photo of our own Burbank and surrounding communities.