Henderson native Heath Goldsmith joined Rebel Hockey as its third goalie on the 2021-22 roster filled with 28 total players.
Goldsmith enters halfway through the season to fulfill the role of goaltender behind starters Zach Wickson and Vince Benedetto.
“Those guys are great,” Goldsmith said. “I really look up to both of them as they are older than me and you know I pick their brains a lot to see what they’re doing and what they’re seeing. When you have two goalies like that that are in front of you that are that good you got to be ready to play. They’re pretty solid so it’s good to pick their brains.”
Goldsmith wasn’t planning on starting college until next year, but with a phone call from assistant coach Nick Robone asking him to come in and play, he couldn’t decline the opportunity.
He received the phone call back in December over the break and immediately got started to come to UNLV and join the Skatin’ Rebels on the ice.
“It’s awesome,” Goldsmith said, addressing the news of his recruitment. “It has been a dream of mine to play for my hometown and to be back here for college or whatever higher level of hockey I could play at. It’s really been a dream come true, to be honest.”
Goldsmith’s major is currently undecided as he was rushed into the college career, but looks forward to his time at the university.
Prior to the phone call, Goldsmith practiced with the Skatin’ Rebels during their prospect camps over the off-season.
“[The coaching staff] did a full evaluation of my game, the way that I played, the way they think I should be paying,” Goldsmith said. “It was really an eye opener for me to see what areas they thought I needed to tweak and work on. That’s what I really worked on in the off-season. I’m here now so I guess it kind of worked. I’m playing better because of them so I give them a lot of props for that.”
Goldsmith has spent six years playing hockey, with only four of those spent in the net.
During the 2019-20 season, he played on the Vegas Jr. Golden Knights where he played in 10 games for a save average of 87%.
Goldsmith is a proud member of the One Puck At A Time non-profit organization that brings hockey goalies an opportunity to make a positive difference in the world.
For every puck that Goldsmith saves, a dollar is donated to a charity of his choice, in which case is the St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital.
While being a member of this organization, he takes pride in his ability to stay focused during a game to make every save count.
“There are some things that I use like censoring everyone out to get my mind focused for games,” Goldsmith said. “I use some apps on my phone, do some breathing meditation, and calm down before the game. Once I’m in the game, I’m just there. I’m focused and nothing can really draw my eye from the puck.”
Goldsmith joined the Rebels in hopes of being a part of the program as they continue to grow and make the next step to being an NCAA Division I school. He wanted to join the team to help UNLV reach that goal as soon as possible.
“We want to make those people who said Vegas wasn’t a hockey town—we want to prove them wrong at the end of the day,” Goldsmith said. “I think we are a different breed from most college teams. I like our attitude. Our winning season is showing that and I don’t think I would want to be anywhere else right now.”
The Skatin’ Rebels held on to one of the longest win streaks in the nation for the season with a 16-game streak, but fell to Liberty this past weekend in the first game. Despite the loss, the team bounced back and won the second game to start a new win streak.
Goldsmith is currently not in playing conditions, after tearing a ligament in his ankle by taking a wrong skate on a slit in the ice during practice on Jan. 18. The injury was a grade three sprain/tear, leaving him wearing a boot for almost two weeks now, but he looks forward to getting it removed on Feb. 2.
Goldsmith has been approved to return to practice on the ice the same day the boot is removed, as he eases back into the pace of practice along with physical therapy and strengthening conditioning.
On his road to recovery, Goldsmith looks forward to playing his first game with the Rebels before the end of the season. Follow along with the UNLV hockey program to see Goldsmith start his career as a Rebel.