The Vegas Golden Knights hockey operations team said "auf wiedersehen" to the Vienna Capitals at the end of a productive week on and off the ice at Erste Bank Arena.
Golden Knights Director of Hockey Operations Misha Donskov, Assistant Coach Mike Kelly and Video Coach Tommy Cruz led a High Performance Camp and Coaching Seminar with the Vienna Capitals Silver players and coaches to bring an NHL-caliber experience to Austria.
Vegas and Vienna entered into a collaborative partnership early in 2019 and have used that relationship to share concepts and ideas to benefit both clubs. At the end of a productive week on the ice and in the video room, the Golden Knights staff is thrilled with the results.
"We built the program so that each day we could continue build on the previous day," Donskov said. "I thought the kids worked really hard. The execution was really good, we had a lot of fun and, overall, it was just a tremendous week in collaboration with our club and the Vienna Capitals."
For Vienna Capitals General Manager Franz Kalla, the week of work with the Golden Knights staff is something the team will value as they head into the 2019-20 season. The players fine-tuned their individual skills, learned ways to work more efficiently as a team, and were introduced to different ways to think about hockey that will help their development as players.
"They've raised their level which is excellent," Kalla said. "For them, it's a huge excitement. We see a big impact out of what we have in this collaboration."
Each day, the group focused on different areas of hockey to create a well-rounded experience. Vegas' coaches took the time to make sure players were doing drills correctly and learning about each detail that can be the difference between a good player and a great player. Kelly said he could see those moments where a player understands a concept and begins to execute with confidence.
"The kids put in a really solid effort all week and you can see the improvement," said Kelly. "A lot of that is familiarity with the drills and the nerves came out, but they worked really hard and executed quite well."
As both parties look back on this week, they'll take home lessons learned on and off the ice about hockey and international friendships. Kelly said he's proud of the organization for having the foresight to expand and celebrate the Golden Knights around the world in a way that benefits others.
"We should be thinking worldwide," said Kelly. "The game is global now and our brand should be global."