Every year as the summer is winding down, the Golden Knights are busy readying for one of their most unique trips of the year. The VGK Road Trip presented by AAA is a special opportunity for staff to load onto a bus for a week and visit small towns that fall within their television distribution territory and don't have a hometown team to call their own. This year, stops included Idaho Falls, Idaho; Billings, Montana; Casper, Wyoming; and St. George, Utah.
After a 12-hour trip north on Sunday, Monday started off bright and early with a street hockey clinic in Idaho Falls. Zach Whitecloud and Dave Goucher joined in on the fun and got to introduce some of Idaho's youngest to the game they love.
"It was really cool to see pulling up all the kids and their families and everyone waiting to see us," said Whitecloud. "I never had an NHL team growing up, especially of this caliber, come to us in a town like Brandon, Manitoba and teach us the fundamentals of the game or interact with us. It's a chance for me to spread the game, the game that I love and enjoy playing."
Video: VGK Road Trip | Idaho Falls
Tuesday kicked off with an ice hockey clinic in Billings, MT, this time with Jake Bischoff and Dave Goucher. In the stands was a fan named Brooks, who was proudly displaying the Vegas ink on his right arm.
"I didn't actually go to a game, but I was in Vegas during the playoffs and just the whole atmosphere and the whole city is amazing," he said. "I always wanted to get into the NHL and when the Golden Knights were announced I figured that was the best time to get into it."
Video: VGK Road Trip | Billings
Another few hours on the road led the team to Casper where Nic Hague and Cody Glass took the ice for two sessions with the kids. Gary Lawless tagged along for this leg of the trip as well.
"It's unreal to see the fanbase here in Casper, Wyoming," said Glass. "As a little kid I always looked up to NHL players who would come out and skate with me, so it's the least me and Nic can do."
Video: VGK Road Trip | Casper
While the team had an off day in Park City, Utah on Thursday, Chance took the opportunity to get into some mischief at the hotel.
The VGK Road Trip came to a close with a street hockey clinic in St. George with special appearances by Jonathan Marchessault, Nick Holden and Gary Lawless.
"It's awesome. You never know how many fans you have until you show up in those further cities," said Marchessault.
Video: VGK Road Trip | St. George
"It's a blast. It just reminds you of your childhood. I used to try to play road hockey goalie every chance I got. I loved it, you could try to look like Marc-Andre Fleury and do ridiculous saves," said Holden.