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Development Camp Blog Part 1 - Ryder Donovan

Development Camp is presented by Martin-Harris Construction

by Ryder Donovan @GoldenKnights /

It feels like a year since I've been drafted. Actually, it happened three days ago, but the experience I've had since hearing my name called through the TV at our workout facility in Madison has been unforgettable.

I was planning on chilling on draft day. I wasn't in Vancouver; I was at the University of Wisconsin where my brother, Shay, and I will be freshmen in the fall. Mike Vorlicky, who's here at camp, Shay and I were in our recovery room wearing those Normatec boots. I got sucked into watching the draft and I had been hoping, hoping, hoping for Vegas to pick me. When I wasn't picked in the third round, it was hard to tell what was going to happen.

When I finished stretching, I was ready to bike back to my dorm, but I stuck around to hear the 110th pick. I heard "East" in the background and then I heard "Donovan" and I said "Oh my god. I think that was my name."

From there, it was a blur and it's crazy that now I'm here in Vegas. This camp is one of those things where everything flies by but, in the moment, you're soaking it all in. I was so gassed when I got here because I hadn't slept the few nights before. Flying in was really cool because I've never seen the desert or mountains like they have here before. I was taking snaps and videos the entire shuttle ride from the airport to Summerlin for all my buddies back home.

I'm rooming with Mason Primeau who was also drafted last weekend with me. I played with his cousin in juniors this season, so he and I bonded right away. I already knew Vorlicky and Mick Messner from Wisconsin, and Isaiah Saville is one of my best buds, but I've met so many new guys that have made my first day here special. I've been watching Cody Glass's highlights since he was drafted and, when I took drills with him today, I thought about it for a second like "whoa, I'm really out here with these guys." Glass is a guy that showed me around and he's super easy to talk to. Jimmy Schuldt came up and introduced himself and that really showed me that, even though those guys have done so much for the organization already, we're all in this together this week.

Everyone has been so helpful in showing me what this team is all about, but the event we did at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada really said who the Golden Knights are. We're fortunate to be hockey players and, for me to serve food and have the rest of the guys there helping out, it means a lot to me and those people we helped.

As I've soaked in everything from my first few days as a Golden Knights prospect, I've really learned a lot. It's been eye-opening to hear about the culture here in Vegas. On the ice, battling through sore legs is something we're all doing but it's all worth it for what we're getting out of this camp.

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