As the summer continues for the Vegas Golden Knights, the organization is diving into expanding its global reach through its week-long High Performance Camp in Vienna, Austria with the EBHL's Vienna Capitals.
The Golden Knights hockey operations team is taking its playing and coaching philosophies overseas to work with the Vienna Capitals players, coaches and management on a collaborative camp that Director of Hockey Operations Misha Donskov said will benefit both teams immensely.
"It's a very special and unique opportunity for both organizations to do something like this," Donskov said.
Donskov is heading to Vienna with Assistant Coach Mike Kelly and Video Coach Tommy Cruz to lead on-ice and off-ice seminars that will focus on a variety of aspects of hockey. The group aims to provide a world-class, NHL-style camp that will benefit each Vienna Capitlas player at camp. They'll focus on the concepts of skill development, individual tactics, team and game tactics and NHL structure, drills and pace. Each day will emphasize a different theme to provide a well-rounded experience for both sides.
Collaboration is the name of the game for Donskov and the VGK staff as they plan to align themselves with Vienna's coaching staff so both parties leave with a wealth of knowledge about the other team and how they approach the same sport.
"We want to bring some new ideas to them from the NHL and we want to learn about their concepts and how they do things," Donskov said. "It will be a great experience for both groups to share resources and ideas."
Vienna's head coach, Dave Cameron, is a former head coach of the Ottawa Senators and worked with Donskov with Hockey Canada before Donskov joined Vegas. The two have already built a relationship around hockey and want to grow friendships between members of both organizations as their partnership continues. They also want to see what comes out of a camp where North American and European styles are blended together on the same ice.
"We can bring some new ideas to them, but we can also learn more about the international game and how they do things," said Donskov.
The idea of running this week-long program stemmed from Donskov's rapport with Vienna General Manager Franz Kalla. Kalla came to Vegas during the 2018-19 season and got to see how the Golden Knights operate on a day-to-day basis and both parties wanted to find more ways to collaborate and expand the success of the organization to Europe.
"As a group, we thought that this would be the next step in bringing both organizations together," Donskov said.
While they're overseas, the Golden Knights hope to interact with international fans as part of the organization's VGK Worldwide initiative. The growth of hockey in Las Vegas has been celebrated in the Golden Knight's home city but has also been watched closely by fans around the world. Donskov sees this trip as an opportunity for the team to further its worldwide presence.
"From a Vegas Golden Knights perspective, it's important to connect with our fans internationally, grow our brand and grow the game."