In any new expansion franchise, the question always lingers: how will the team jell once it hits the ice?
If the Vegas Golden Knights' inaugural development camp is any indication, this team has nothing to worry about when it comes to chemistry.
The first day of development camp at the Las Vegas Ice Center was full of reunions with old teammates, old friends, and old adversaries for many of the camp's attendees. Players from across junior hockey, college hockey and even some professional hockey got the chance to see people they met throughout their young careers.
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Hockey is a small world, after all.
Dmitry Osipov, a development camp invitee from the WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings, was happy to see people he knew from Brandon, including Golden Knights signee Reid Duke and fellow invitee Logan Thompson.
"It's a great feeling when you are really good friends from the Wheat Kings," Osipov said. "I know Reid Duke will be here, obviously, and then when I saw Logan Thompson, I was kind of really excited because I haven't seen him for a long time, and then I knew quite a lot of guys around the league too, so it's kind of nice to see them, too."
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Other players got to reunite with teammates as well. Keoni Texeira got the chance to reconnect with his teammate on the WHL's Portland Winterhawks, Golden Knights first-round draft pick Cody Glass. In addition, Max Veronneau, an invitee from Princeton University, got the chance to reconnect with a few players he used to play against in the ECAC.
The chemistry between the players was evident right away. Players were chatting it up on the ice, smiling and laughing as they went through drills together.
Duke was a popular man in particular at development camp as well, not only as the first-ever Golden Knight, but also as a well-known guy in the WHL. One of his old teammates, Tyler Wong from the WHL's Lethbridge Hurricanes, was glad to get to see him again, as well as plenty of players he's seen on the opposing bench in the WHL.
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"It's really cool to kind of hear the stories from other teams and guys that you play against and battle against," he said. "And you know, me and Reid Duke, we played together when we were younger and we haven't played together in a few years, so it's good to catch up with him and a few of the other guys off Tri-City and Everett and other teams. To be able to catch up with them, kind of say hi and put a name to a face is pretty cool."
So, whether or not these guys go back to playing in the junior ranks or get the chance to don the Golden Knights, Chicago Wolves or Quad City Mallards jersey someday, the foundations are already there to make the Golden Knights organization a tight-knit family of players with plenty of chemistry.