Las Vegas, USA Hockey host ‘Try Hockey For Free’ event at LVIC
Back on Feb. 25, the Vegas Golden Knights and USA Hockey combined to host first-time hockey players at the Las Vegas Ice Center as part of “Try Hockey For Free” Day.
The Golden Knights, six months prior to the team’s first season in the league, weren’t part of this action, of course.
The new NHL team and USA Hockey teamed up to host approximately 200 children ages 4-9, outfitted them with equipment and had them on the ice for two hours of free ice time.
“Every event that’s held, every time hockey is out in the community, it seems to blow every expectation away,” Golden Knights hockey operations assistant and on-ice instructor Keith Veronesi told NHL.com. “People are real fantastic. It’s been a real privilege to be part of this whole thing.
“You know, the fans and the community just continue to support everything. And you see kids at such a young age that have never been on the ice before so enthusiastic, so excited. I think it’s just only going to get better from here.”
Veronesi, originally from South Glastonbury, Conn., played NCAA Division III college hockey at Connecticut College from 2010-14 before joining the Golden Knights.
Kevin Erlenbach, USA Hockey’s director of membership development, was also at the LVIC for the event and was elated at the amount of kids that took part.
Similar “Try Hockey For Free” events generally attract 30-40 kids per session in other cities, but the Las Vegas Ice Center put several times that number on the ice.
“These are really huge numbers,” Erlenbach said to NHL.com. “It just shows how excited and hungry people are for ice hockey, to not only watch the team, but play it and be a part of it. It’s definitely a hockey community ready to blow up.
“As someone who loves hockey, to see all these kids with smiles on their faces. But not just the kids, but to watch the parents snap the pictures. The fact that everyone’s having fun and enjoying themselves, it’s huge.”
Photos/Vegas Golden Knights
— Matt Mackinder