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Golden Knights Encourage Children To Get Involved In Hockey

by Gordon Weigers @GoldenKnights /

Hockey has arrived in Nevada. The presence of the Vegas Golden Knights in the community has sparked an interest in the sport among many people who are learning what hockey is all about.

It's never too late to get involved with hockey, whether it's on or off the ice. In addition to creating a world-class hockey atmosphere at T-Mobile Arena and City National Arena, the Golden Knights want to help people in the community get started playing the sport.

This summer, various programs are being offered around the city, including street hockey clinics at community and recreation centers around Las Vegas for children to learn how to play ball hockey.

By teaching kids in Las Vegas how to play hockey in its most basic form, Golden Knights senior manager of youth hockey Matt Flynn feels that more and more children will become interested in the game. At a street hockey clinic last spring, Flynn recalled an eager young boy who proudly asked him in front of his peers "how do I do more hockey?" Questions like that are what makes putting these clinics on worth it for Flynn and his staff.

"The end goal is building fans," Flynn said. "You're more likely to be a fan if you participate in it somehow."

The clinics have participants split up into age groups to run through a few drills to get the hang of stick handling a hockey ball while running, passing, and shooting. Once the kids feel comfortable holding the stick and have gone through preliminary drills, the groups play a pick-up hockey game.

Each boy and girl that participates receives a small booklet that contains basic information on the game of hockey, including what equipment the players wear, what some of the rules are, what penalty calls look like, and more. Giving young people a foundation of knowledge about the game makes Flynn think that the likelihood that kids will play hockey on their own time instead of using technology will increase.

"It's about getting kids out from in front of the screens and learning something new," Flynn said.

In addition to the street hockey clinics, the Golden Knights are offering hockey camps at City National Arena to young players of various skill levels.

From July 23-26, the Golden Knights are offering a Learn To Play Hockey Camp for hockey players ages 12 and under. For $350 per player, kids with little hockey experience are welcome to the four-day camp to improve on basic skills on and off the ice. Groups will be broken up by ages 5-8 and 9-12.

Players with experience in travel hockey are invited to register for the Vegas Golden Knights Youth Hockey Camp offered from July 30-Aug. 3 for $500 per player. Broken down into groups for ages 6-9, 10-12 and 13-17, the camp offers training more tailored to travel hockey players looking to take steps in their game over the summer.

"Any time you put on a camp, you want to see the kids improve over that time, so they can achieve success during the progression in drills," said Robbert McDonald, Director of Hockey Operations and Assistant Manager for City National Arena.

McDonald said City National Arena expects a strong turnout for their inaugural camps this summer. He said the success of the Golden Knights this season built a foundation upon which youth hockey will continue to grow in Las Vegas. By attending either of these camps, young hockey players at various levels of play will receive structured instruction on how to improve their hockey skills.

"We pride ourselves on detail and making sure the kids are receiving great instruction during our camps," McDonald said.

More information and registration can be found here.

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