STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — The Stockton Heat are off to a red-hot start in 2021.
“I mean we have a great team, No. 1, I mean everyone’s, we’re finding success, and it’s not one person that is winning us games, it’s us as a group that are finding ways,” explained Stockton Heat center Glenn Gawdin.
Through 20 games, the Calgary Flames affiliate sits atop the AHL’s pacific division standings with a 15-2-2-1 record and is the only team in the league to remain undefeated in regulation on home ice.
“It’s nice when you know you can play well at home. We have to, half our season is at home so to be able to play well in this building, it’s huge for us,” Gawdin explained.
“You know it’s good for us, it’s good for our confidence as a team so you know, I’ll say you know, it’s good to win early but we still have some progress to the end of the season,” added Stockton Heat left wing Jakob Pelletier.
While the main goal of the organization is to develop and progress their prospects the wins are being welcomed with open arms.
“When you have wins that come along the way, that is a bonus success for our group but our guys, I feel you can win hockey games and still develop at the same time, and that’s what our guys are recognizing right now and having a lot of fun doing it,” said Stockton Heat head coach Mitch Love.
Part of the fun of this season is simply being able to compete in California in front of the home crowd. Last year, the Heat played a shortened season in Canada due to the pandemic.
“Everyone likes to play in front of them but when they get taken away it makes it that much more significant that you miss them,” Gawdin said.
While the Heat are happy to be playing in front of any fans this season, the front office told FOX40 that attendance is down from its pre-pandemic norms.
Stockton Arena is only getting about a quarter-full for most home games.
“They often say this is the fastest sport on ice and one of the quickest sports in general so bring your families, come down. I know our guys would like to have this building full each and every night,” Love said.