One word to describe Melissa High School junior Garrett Heinz is dedicated. A second word is passionate.

A Cardinal since kindergarten, Heinz has spent more years of his life playing hockey than not; learning to skate when he was just three years old and beginning play at age six.

The 2015-16 season marked Heinz’s third year on the back-to-back State Champion Texas Warriors U18 hockey team, where he plays defense. While Heinz says "the dream is always to go pro," he has his sights set on playing hockey in college for the Texas A&M Aggies or the Texas State Bobcats.

In February, Heinz and his fellow Texas Warriors U18 teammates dominated the State Tournament, earning them a spot in the USA Hockey National Tournament in Buffalo, N.Y. This would be their second year in a row to compete on the national level after earning a bronze medal in 2015.

"Last year the tournament was in Dallas, but this year we went to New York and it was a crazy experience," Heinz said. "There were teams from all over, in places that we didn’t even know had hockey. There were a bunch of scouts in the stands from junior leagues."

Since Melissa ISD does not have an ice hockey program, Heinz has one period during school dedicated to off-campus P.E., which allows him to go home at around 3 p.m. to eat a meal and prepare for hockey practice. His team practices at least two nights per week, often until as late as 11 p.m., and they compete in as many as two games each weekend.

While much of Heinz’s life revolves around hockey, he hasn’t let his academics take a backseat. This year especially, his team has had to travel for games, causing Heinz to miss class. He works with his teachers to ensure that he stays on top of his assignments, often studying while on the road. It’s a balancing act that he says he’s worked on since he was eight years old.

Originally based in Allen, the Texas Warriors now call Richardson home. All things considered, it’s safe to say that Heinz and his teammates are a force to be reckoned with and will be back on the ice again next season.