The pinnacle of hockey success came to Las Vegas when the Vegas Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup in 2023 – just six years after the franchise began. As the whole state celebrated with them, hockey in the desert was cemented into history.

If you’ve been paying attention to hockey in Las Vegas, you’d know the Golden Knights aren’t the only team reaching high levels of accomplishment. With the amateur successes already seen this year, it looks like hockey glory in the Las Vegas Valley won’t just be a one-time thing.

“Our Vegas Junior Golden Knights (VJGK) Hockey Club continues to flourish from 8U through High School levels,” said Darren Eliot, the Vegas Golden Knights’ Senior VP of Hockey Programming and Facilities. “The continued support of the Vegas Golden Knights in developing top tier hockey in Nevada sets us apart. The VGK’s support, coupled with the continuing competitive advances of the VJGK, affords us the opportunity to bring prestigious events to the marketplace.”

The Vegas Golden Knights junior teams, supported by America First Credit Union, have had recent runs of triumphs in national tournaments. The VJGK 16U team won the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) T1ER Dixon Cup Championship over President’s Day Weekend in Michigan. Coached by Wally Lacroix, the hockey director at America First Center, the team also includes Carson Craig, son of Ryan Craig – head coach of the Henderson Silver Knights.

16U Cup Champs

The VJGK Girls 14U team placed second at the USA Hockey Pacific Division Championships on Feb. 25, qualifying for the USA Hockey Tier II 14U National Championships. This is the first girls’ team from Nevada to ever qualify for nationals. They are coached by Gordie Mark, a former NHLer who spent time with the New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers, as well as played in the IHL with the Las Vegas Thunder. The girls went 16-0-0 in the Pacific Girls Hockey League and are the No. 1 seed heading into the 14UAA playoffs, which will be held from March 15-18 at City National Arena and America First Center.

“It’s a really big honor,” said Jamie Madsen, a player on the team. “We are all really excited to be able to go and represent Vegas because we’ve all grown up in Vegas hockey. It’s just a cool experience.”

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Other boys teams that won championships in the month of February include the 8U Henderson Junior Silver Knights, 10U A Junior Silver Knights, 10U AA Junior Golden Knights and 12U AA Junior Golden Knights. The 12U AA boys team competed at the PeeWee Quebec tournament – one of the top PeeWee hockey tournaments in North America.

The 10U AA boys team, coached by Harrison Luce and Jonathan Marchessault, won the Fargo Squirt Invitational in North Dakota on Feb. 18. Marchessault’s son, James, is a forward on the team.

10U AA Cup Champs

When the My Hockey Tournament in Provo, Utah come to an end over President’s Day weekend, the 8U Junior Silver Knights and 10U A Junior Silver Knights teams came home with hardware as both teams won their respective age groups at the tournament.

8U Cup Champs
10U HSJK Champs

“The goal for this program is for the kids involved to benefit from more detailed coaching and structured programs,” said head coach of the 10U AA team, Luce. “Our goal is to have an elite team in Vegas so that they can continue to develop nationally.”

At the collegiate level in Las Vegas, the UNLV Rebels went to the ACHA Division I National Championship game for the first time in their history. Despite a 3-0 loss to Adrian College in the final, the Skatin’ Rebels continued their recent slew of successful seasons as they reached the national stage for the third time in a row.

High school hockey in the Las Vegas Valley has had a run of success as well. Faith Lutheran defeated Bishop Gorman in a two-game series on Jan. 27 and Jan. 28 to claim the Nevada State Championship. The Crusaders qualified for the USA Hockey High School Division 2 National Championships for the second year in a row. The tournament will be held in West Chester, Pa. from March 20-24. Faith Lutheran defeated Capistrano High School to become Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League (ADHSHL) champions in early March.

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More triumphs for Las Vegas hockey came in the regular season of the 12UAA Pacific Girls Hockey League (PGHL) standings as two Las Vegas teams finished at the top of the division. The Las Vegas Storm hold first place, while the VJGK are tied for second. The playoffs will take place from March 15-17 in Vegas.

The Las Vegas Thunderbirds of the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) also found a lot of success this season. They finished the regular season 31-14-1-2 to rank third in the Pacific Division but fell to the Ontario Junior Reign in the first round of the playoffs.

Seven years removed from the Vegas Golden Knights skating in their first NHL season, hockey in Las Vegas has not only blossomed but has prospered. As amateur teams in the valley continue to find success on the ice, the NHL club will continue to keep an eye on and celebrate their victories.