Juneau-Douglas High School junior center and forward Marc Heifetz was selected by coaches and local media as the player of the week for contributions made on the ice against the Homer Mariners. The Crimson Bears split that series, winning 4-3 and then falling 3-1 the following night.
Heifetz was credited by coaches for, basically, being a pain in the rear padding of the Mariners.
“It is really just the little things, the things we practice,” Heifetz said. “You like to get the goals but sometimes things don’t always go your way. I didn’t score any goals last weekend and didn’t have any points, but I just tried to make an impact on the ice.”
Impact on the ice is one of the categories that isn’t listed on the score sheets but is probably the major contributing factor to other players getting recognition. It is also the reason coaches like to see Heifetz in the Crimson Bears black and red zooming past the bench.
“Marc is one of those players that always puts in a good defensive effort,” JDHS head coach Dave McKenna said. “His impact on the game doesn’t always show up on the score sheet. He’s always ready to compete hard and does a good job of leading by example.”
Heifetz wears the number four.
“I have always worn it since I was little,” Heifetz said. “It was the first number I ever got, when the rink first opened and I was on the Squirts team.”
No longer a Squirt, at 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds Heifetz is big enough to survive the schedule of top-notch high school hockey and still has room to fill out if he decides to pursue the puck at a higher level.
The center position is the main breakout skater, receiving the passes and distributing the puck. More importantly the center supports the puck in the defensive zone.
That defensive expertise has become Heifetz’ strength and he often is in front of, and then behind, his own goaltender fighting off opposing behemoths and lightning fast attackers for possession of the puck.
“You kind of have to keep guys out of the center,” Heifetz said. “And keep them on the boards and play the body in the corners.”
Heifetz has done this so well that he is tied for a team high 648 minutes on the ice in 14 games and is also tied for a team low in penalties. Yet he dishes out a check just as often as he receives one.
“It just depends,” Heifetz said. “In the defensive zone you are giving more hits, and depending on how much you are carrying the puck you are taking the hits.”
Heifetz other hobbies include skiing, fishing, and anything else that involves “just hanging outdoors,” as well as playing on the high school tennis and soccer teams.
“I just like the pace of the game,” Heifetz said of the hockey. “It’s a fast-paced game. You have to be ready for anything and you don’t have to have the puck or be the goal scorer to make an impact. It is a physical sport.”
Coaches, and Heifetz himself, couldn’t pick the best game of the season to date for Heifetz.
“I don’t know,” Heifetz said. “I have to think about that. Lets come back to that one. I don’t try to have a best game, I try to skate hard every time on the ice.”
Heifetz hopes the team moves far into the playoffs this season.
“I hope we give our seniors a championship,” Heifetz said. “And next year is my senior year. I just hope I can improve and provide leadership and do the same. This has been the best year we have ever played in conference. We are just having fun and playing good hockey. This is a great bunch of hockey players to skate with.”