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Los Angeles Jr. Kings Seeing Double

By Justin Felisko, 04/04/24, 8:15PM MDT


Jr. Kings and their two sets of twins are pursuing a second consecutive Chipotle-USA Hockey National Championship title.

HENDERSON, Nev. – Cody and Kevin Betsch were in fourth grade when the two current players for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings 16U Tier 1 team decided to pull a fast one on their teachers.

The two identical twins switched sweatshirts and classes at their elementary school flawlessly. Both of their teachers had no idea, the two brothers recalled in laughter Thursday afternoon following the Jr. Kings 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite at the 2024 Chipotle-USA Hockey Youth Tier 1 16U National Championship.

Now the Betschs may have never attempted to prank their head coach, Brett Beebe, but Beebe admits he still has trouble keeping track of the twins every so often.

“Sometimes I will mix them up here and there,” Beebe also said with laughter. “They will say, ‘Hey coach, ‘You are talking to me, but I am Cody, not Kevin.’”

One can’t blame Beebe for crossing things up sometimes, especially considering the Jr. Kings have not only one, but two sets of twins on its roster here in Las Vegas.

The Jr. Kings have the Betschs, while also deploying another set of twins in Garrett and Hayden Russell.

“For as much as they look alike, they all couldn’t be more different and bring different aspects to the team,” Beebe said. “But they are all super high-character guys with unbelievable work ethic. The fact that we get two (sets) of them makes my life easier. They complement the other one. Each of them has characteristics that makes the other one better.”

Last year, all four players helped the Jr. Kings win the 2023 Chipotle-USA Hockey Tier 1 15O National Championship.

The Jr. Kings rallied from a two-goal deficit, and Garrett scored the game-winner in overtime as the Kings defeated Shattuck-St. Mary’s, 3-2.

Now Los Angeles Jr. Kings, who are 2-1 this week at the Tier I 16U tournament, are attempting to win a second consecutive national title.

“If you do it once, you really want to try to do it again because you know you can do it,” Garrett said. “That push, that drive. You just want to win again. It is definitely there.”

Hayden added, “For younger teams in California, this shows we are producing a lot of great guys and just when you come together as one team you can make things happen.”

The Jr. Kings are next slated to face the Dallas Stars Elite on Friday at 5:15 p.m. ET. Tune into all the remaining nationals action, and watch every game live and on-demand, exclusively at

Beebe says his team is just as motivated as the group who took home the 15O title last season.

“They bring the same effort, the same intensity. All of that stuff,” Beebe said. “They are as hungry this year as they were last year.”

Garrett has been a pivotal defensive force on the blueline for the Jr. Kings this week inside First America Center, and it has been ever so apparent that he and Hayden, a forward, seemingly always know the other is.

Beebe even asked the twins one time if they were studying endless hours of film of each other at home.

“Garrett has a knack for finding Hayden,” Beebe said. “It is like they have walkie talkies in each other’s head. Garrett is Hayden’s protector in a way. Hayden is kind of the vocal guy. He is loud and fun, he keeps things positive. Garrett is kind of quiet and stoic. He makes sure he gets Hayden out of trouble when he runs his mouth and chirps. Garrett has to back him up.”

The twins’ telekinetic bond has been in the works since the Russells first learned to skate at 2 years old. It has only continued to develop as they played their way through the ranks of the California Amateur Hockey Association. It will also likely follow them in the junior ranks and when they play collegiate hockey at Holy Cross University in a few years.

“You hear about the twin connection, and it is cheesy, but it’s true and real,” Garrett said. “It is fun playing with him. Since we have played together so much, and all we do is hang out, we are just there. Those passes. That communication. We just see it each other.”

Hayden added, “We started skating when we were really young, and we fell in love with it. We have played together our whole life.”

Kevin Betsch, a defenseman, said that he and Cody, a center, have a similar attachment.

There bond started to mold on the pavement in California when they were playing roller hockey, as well as ice hockey, at 4 years old.

“When we are out there together on the ice at the same time, there is especially a connection,” Kevin said. “Same when the four of us are out there too, there is a little twin connection.”

Cody added, “It is pretty crazy. We have been playing together for so long. Everybody on our team is brothers, but there is more of a connection there because we grew up playing together.”

The Jr. Kings are certainly a family on the ice and in the locker room beyond their two sets of twins.

The entire roster, including leading scorer Robin Benoit (1-4-5), has bonded together with the ultimate goal of leaving Las Vegas as national champions.

“It would definitely be a lifelong memory,” Kevin Betsch said. “Last year already was, but winning twice would be a huge memory and we would never forget that.”

His brother agreed.

“It would be crazy,” Cody Betsch concluded. “When we play our best, we are the best team in the tournament, and it is very doable for us to win. We are going to do our best and try to win again. I am confident in that.”

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