Dawson DiPietro, much like many of his icemates during Vegas Golden Knights development camp, knows how much hockey has consumed Las Vegas.
And when the opportunity came for him to join the Golden Knights development camp, he knew it was going to be special.
"It's my first time here in Las Vegas, so it's been a bit of a shock with the heat and everything," he said during camp. "It is definitely a hockey city. The fans that have turned up thus far have been phenomenal and it's been exciting to be a part of such a great organization."DiPietro, 22, recently completed his first full year with Western Michigan University totaling 35 points (13 G, 22 A). He led in points through 36 games in the 2017-18 season, awarding him the Vic Vanderberg Leading Scorer Award.
The left winger also received the Ed Edwards Award for the Most Improved Player and co-owned the Rob Hodge Award for Most Valuable Player with teammate Hugh McGing.He made his collegiate debut on October 14, during the 2016-17 season against Bowling Green State University.Prior to attending Western Michigan, DiPietro played two seasons in the North American Hockey League with the Topeka Roadrunners, Coulee Region Chill, Austin Bruins, and Janesville Jets. DiPietro scores 78 points (31 G, 47 A) through 117 games in his stint in the NAHL.
Fortunately for DiPietro, he wasn't alone during camp. That sense of familiarity came with Broncos teammates, defenseman Corey Schueneman and Golden Knights fourth round draft pick Paul Cotter.
"Those guys are great hockey players and are going to help out Western Michigan a ton this upcoming season," DiPietro said. "It's fun to be (in Vegas) on the ice with them."
All three were assigned to Team Grey.
"He has a ton of speed and elite skill. He had a wonderful year this year [Western Michigan Season 2017-18] and I think he will be even better for us this year," said Schueneman about DiPietro.
Through camp, DiPietro knew he had to show his skills to the Golden Knights coaches after the invitation was given.
"I'm playing with a bunch of great players here (at Development Camp in Vegas) that are going to help me out. I'm just trying to show my skill and speed at camp. I'm trying to show to the coaches what I can do when you step up a level. I'm excited to take the things I have learned on and off the ice back to Western Michigan and make those guys better," he said.