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#VGKRoadTrip Running Blog

After spending Wednesday in Whitefish, the Golden Knights have arrived in Deer Lodge, Montana

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

Saturday, August 19: 8:10 PM (PT)

Forty-five hours, 2,704 miles

Six states, four events and a lot of memories.

The #VGKRoadTrip is home!

Thank you to everybody for following along!

 

Saturday, August 19: 12:16 PM (PT)

Gallant and Kelly are just heading to the airport on their way out of town, while the rest of our team is boarding the Golden Knights' team bus for a six-hour drive home tonight.

We're still waiting on our official mileage to come in for the week. But it's looking like it'll be more than 2,600 in the past five days!

Saturday, August 19: 11:54 AM (MT)

We estimate that we've now seen more than 100 people wearing Golden Knights logos today. Granted, many of them were one of the free t-shirts given out by the team.

But still...really great to see!

 

Saturday, August 19: 10:59 AM (MT)

From our initial inspections, the crowd here in Salt Lake City is the largest we've had all week. There are easily a few hundred people in attendance, many of whom are participating in today's open skate with Golden Knights coaches Gerard Gallant and Mike Kelly.

One of the fun things to see is how there are also quite a few Golden Knights logos being worn, too.

Although we admit, it did crack us up a little bit when we saw a few Montreal Expos logos here as well.

Who would have ever thought Salt Lake City could be both Golden Knights and Montreal Expos country?

Saturday, August 19: 8:23 AM (MT)

We just pulled into the Salt Lake City Sports Complex, where Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant and assistant coach Mike Kelly will be participating in an open skate at 10:30 local time.

We'll have more as they get on the ice.

For now, we're poking around this facility, which is quite put together. 

It isn't just hockey played here. This is an expansive center for sports, from swimming, to soccer and even baseball, among others.

And hockey, of course.

The building has definable Olympic flavor to it. Which we guess is no surprise, given that it housed team practices during the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics.

 

Friday, August 18: 10:22 PM (MT)

We've settled into our hotel in Salt Lake City, after a terrific day in Bozeman, Montana and Yellowstone National Park

As promised earlier, we have more from our chat with the Gallatin Ice Foundation's Development Director, Anna Greenberg, RIGHT HERE

Friday, August 18: 3:26 PM (MT)

We've been zigging and zagging along for the past couple hours. There hasn't been a whole heck of a lot of cell phone reception, but we guess that's what happens when we're passing through some of the country's most picturesque real estate.

We started in Montana, briefly crossed the border into Wyoming and went back into Montana, before now finding ourselves in Idaho.

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: #VGKRoadTrip takes Yellowstone�� pic.twitter.com/EVVWFftYdd

 

Friday, August 18: 1:11 PM (MT)

Offically heading out of Bozeman now, en route for Utah. We just might have a few surprise stops along the way before then.

Stay tuned!

 

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: ���out, Bozeman. Thanks for the hospitality! #VGKRoadTrip pic.twitter.com/jwuUpqtN29

 

Friday, August 18, 12:16 PM (MT)

We just finished chatting with the Gallatin Ice Foundation's Development Director, Anna Greenberg. She just exuded enthusiasm since we rolled into town, and was effervescent about having an NHL team show up in her town.

We'll have more from our chat with Anna later this afternoon on VegasGoldenKnights.com.

For now, we're just wrapping up here at the arena. We'll be heading down to Salt Lake City later this afternoon.

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: Just wrapping up here in Bozeman. #VGKRoadTrip pic.twitter.com/bz5Ub7fyiV

Friday, August 18, 11:33 AM (MT)

It's a little different of a setup here in Bozeman. Rather than ice being laid for an on-ice session, we're at the local rink in town, but will be playing street hockey.

Street hockey indoors, within the boards of the ice rink, which won't be installed until closer to winter.

There's just so much enthusiasm in this town, though.

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: Starting them out young here in Bozeman. #VGKRoadTrip pic.twitter.com/ebfIoSC49u

Out of all of the places we've been so far, Bozeman seems to have attracted the youngest crowd.

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: #softhands pic.twitter.com/3ovNVh12nY

 

Friday, August 18, 11:20 AM (MT)

Although he was unable to attend, we just received a message from Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt.

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: Couple #VGKRoadTrip Updates1. We have a Nate Schmidt sighting!2. He has a message for the people of Bozeman. pic.twitter.com/DdeplOnZsV

 

Friday, August 18, 8:43 AM (MT)

We've just made it to Bozeman. And it looks like we've been spotted!

Although to be fair, Nick is an NHL.com writer who is traveling with us on our team bus. 

Nevertheless, we're here!

Tweet from @cotsonika: You never know what you'll see in the parking lot of the Bozeman Home Depot. #VGKRoadTrip pic.twitter.com/bi7ahNT00I

 

Friday, August 18, 6:33 AM (MT)

Our crew is just climbing onto our bus at the Rock Creek Cattle Company.

The sun, a beautiful shade of orange, is just beginning to creep out from over the mountains to the east. It's not fully light yet, and there's a slight chill in the air, but not too much. Feels like Las Vegas in January, if anything.

Now about two-and-a-half hours to Bozeman!

Thursday, August 17, 6:43 PM (MT)

News just came down that defenseman Nate Schmidt injured his ankle during offseason training today.

The injury, George McPhee says, is something that will be reevaluated next week. On the surface, it doesn't appear to be something too serious or that will threaten any portion of Schmidt's season.

Schmidt's injury will impact the #VGKRoadTrip, however.

Originally claimed by the Golden Knights from the Washington Capitals in the Expansion Draft, Schmidt was scheduled to lead a street hockey clinic at the Haynes Pavilion in Bozeman, Montana tomorrow morning.

Schmidt now will be unable to attend, although the #VGKRoadTrip event tomorrow in Bozeman will continue as otherwise scheduled.

Thursday, August 17, 5:08 PM (MT)

Since we've gotten to Rock Creek, our group has splintered off in various directions.

Some of us have been golfing. Others fly-fishing. 

Although much of the day has been centered around a photoshoot that defenseman Jake Bischoff had for Rock Creek.

This is the only day of the #VGKRoadTrip where we won't visit a rink.

Today did, however, feature a few other highlights, for Bischoff in particular.

 

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: Ladies and gentlemen, Jake Bischoff�� pic.twitter.com/u1Y6E9xQsx

 

 

Thursday, August 17, 10:01 AM (MT)

The scenery changed a bit on our early-morning drive today.

The mountains gave way for prairies as we worked our way southeast. And as we pulled off the main highway for the final 10-15 minutes of the ride to the Rock Creek Cattle Company in Deer Lodge, Montana, we rode along a dirt road.

This made life a bit bumpy aboard the Golden Knights bus, with both VegasGoldenKnights.com and Jake Bischoff retreiving bottles of Gatorade that were sent skittering down the aisle.

We're here now, though.

And it's a beautiful property here. Total old school ranch, filled with horseback riding, hiking and all sorts of outdoor activities.

More to come!

 

 

Thursday, August 17, 5:48 AM (MT)

After having a nice team dinner in downtown Whitefish last night, we returned to Bill Foley's house. Foley's property out here is quite expansive, with horses, barns and cabins that could double for four-star hotels.

Some of us are getting up, out and onto our bus quite quickly here. 

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: Thanks for the hospitality, Whitefish!Next Stop: Deer Lodge, Montana. #VGKRoadTrip pic.twitter.com/uQhjQsj0Nk

We're told that this time of day, there are quite a few bears in the area...and not the kind you find in Chicago!

Wednesday, August 16, 7:59 PM (MT)

We just finished up on the ice, and Alex Tuch and Jake Bischoff have been talking to the media for quite a while here. Chris Maathuis from channel 8 in Las Vegas is just arriving and Emily Kaplan from ESPN is departing to return to Chicago, while NHL.com's Nick Cotsonika continues to be with us for the duration.

In this part of the country, it stays light late over the summer. And with temperatures in the upper 60s and an onslaught of fresh mountain air, it kind of has a similar atmosphere as the summer tryout scene (in Colorado Springs) in Miracle.

Except instead of players trying out for an Olympic team, we have Alex Tuch doing...Alex Tuch things!

 

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: Finishing up for the night in Whitefish, @alextuch17 talks about spreading the word about the Vegas Golden Knights in Montana. #VGKRoadTrip pic.twitter.com/31IW72aYFk

 

Wednesday, August 16, 6:47 PM (MT)

Seriously, though. It's a legitimately large crowd here in Whitefish.

 

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: Pretty good turnout here in Whitefish. #VGKRoadTrip pic.twitter.com/RLVqu9M6OG

 

Wednesday, August 16, 6:24 PM (MT)

Building has really started to fill up. 

Murray Craven tells us that there are about 160 registered youth hockey players in the Whitefish area, and we'd have to say there are about 150 kids here.

Although to be fair, it also seems as if many traveled in from out of town to participate. As two kids were helped onto the ice by their grandfather, we can't lie, the sheer grandness of his mustache caught our attention.

And then we noticed it was Lanny McDonald!

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: The #VGKRoadTrip has brought out dozens of local kids & parents here in WhitefishIncluding Lanny McDonald, whose grandkids are on the ice�� pic.twitter.com/CfaK4NZJgs

 For those not familiar, McDonald was a legendary player in his own day and is in the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was a hugely popular player for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1970s, before moving onto the Colorado Rockies (now New Jersey Devils) and Calgary Flames, where he was a hero in winning a Stanley Cup in his final game in the league in 1989.

 

Watch: Youtube Video

 

McDonald tells us he lives about 40 minutes south, but didn't want to miss the Golden Knights' trip into the area. We'll have more on this after we chat with him in the next few minutes here.

Wednesday, August 16, 4:29 PM (MT)

After poking around downtown this afternoon, we grabbed a late lunch before heading over to the Stumptown Ice Arena.

A full-time resident of Whitefish from 2000-15, Golden Knights Senior Vice President Murray Craven played a large part in building this facility about a decade ago. Similar to how he has been integral in building City National Arena in Summerlin over the past year.

The rink looks exactly how an outsider would expect a rink in Montana to look. The whole building has that mountain feel to it, more as if we're in a ski lodge than a hockey arena.

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: In about 30 minutes, @alextuch17 and Jake Bischoff will be teaching a hockey clinic here in Whitefish. #VGKRoadTrip pic.twitter.com/aXrgUx87v2

Wednesday, August 16, 2:20 PM (MT)

We just met up with two of our Golden Knights players, who'll be joining us to help teach a hockey clinic early this evening.

 Tweet from @GoldenKnights: Alex Tuch and Jake Bischoff have arrived in Whitefish. #VGKRoadTrip pic.twitter.com/HPXH1Bbdgk

Wednesday, August 16, 1:57 PM (MT)

We were on the road for about four hours this morning. We started in northern Idaho and headed east, winding and weaving through mountain rounds, surrounded by evergreens and picturesque scenery.

While crossing back from the Pacific to Mountain Timezones, our crew aboard the SS Golden Knights watched Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

Because of course, why not.

For what it's worth, there were some members of our crew who had never seen the movie. We know, horrific.

But forgive them, all the newbies laughed quite a bit!

We just pulled into Whitefish, where our Chairman/CEO, Bill Foley, and Senior Vice President Murray Craven both have long had residences.

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: #VGKRoadTrip arriving in Whitefish, Montana�� pic.twitter.com/kzpUdKb0uW 

Upon first glance, Whitefish reminds us a little bit of the town in Dante's Peak. Minus the natural disasters.

You don't honestly think we've seen Ace Ventura but not Dante's Peak, do you?

 

Watch: Youtube Video

 

Wednesday, August 16, 8:40 AM (PT)

Our staff has just assembled in our hotel lobby to leave for Whitefish.

Joining us this morning are NHL.com's Nick Cotsonika and ESPN.com's Emily Kaplan. Both hockey reporters met up with us in Coeur d'Alene, to cover the #VGKRoadTrip. Both are joining us on our bus ride to Montana, with Emily staying with the caravan through tomorrow and Nick with us until the end of the week.

The uniqueness of this venture by the Golden Knights seemed to have captured a bit of the national media conversation.

Good times for the Golden Knights!

Wednesday, August 16: 12:01 AM (PT)

Guess we can put a bow on our time in Coeur d'Alene.

 Tweet from @GoldenKnights: Another day in the books for #VGKRoadTrip.Tomorrow: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho��Whitefish, Montana������ pic.twitter.com/zATtNnnsnE

 

 

Tuesday, August 15: 8:44 PM (PT)

Our crew just checked back into our hotel. We're grabbing some dinner in downtown Coeur d'Alene tonight, before leaving on a four-hour drive to Whitefish, Montana in the morning.

Tuesday, August 15: 7:07 PM (PT)

After sitting down for a few minutes to sign autographs after tonight's open skate, Calvin Pickard wanted to stop outside the Frontier Ice Arena.

Which although tonight is Pickard's final night on the #VGKRoadTrip before Alex Tuch and Jake Bischoff arrive tomorrow, he thought what was outside the rink here in Coeur d'Alene was awfully coincidental for him.

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: Waiting for @cpickard1 in Coeur d'Alene: A giant VGK jersey featuring the number he's worn throughout his pro career. #VGKRoadTrip pic.twitter.com/dJxJwYKWC6

 

Tuesday, August 15: 6:37 PM (PT)

As we continue to watch tonight's skate, Pickard's interaction with a couple Everett Silvertips (WHL) fans has been fascinating to watch. Pickard, after all, played his junior hockey for the rival Seattle Thunderbirds.

Which even though a few years has past since Pickard's been part of this rivalry, has led to some interesting dialogue between the parties.

 

 Video: Pickard gets to know locals in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

 

Tuesday, August 15: 6:24 PM (PT)

If there's one thing we've learned about Calvin Pickard very early on in his time with the Golden Knights, it's that the goalie has quite a sense of humor.

Whether it's addressing Mike Tyson's face tattoo, whether a hot dog is a sandwich or allowing fans to design his goalie mask, Pickard seems to be a pretty open guy on most subjects.

RELATED: Pickard updates the status of #PicksMaskContest

Which, to those unfamiliar with the stereotypes of goalies, flies completely against how most goalies are often prejudged to be.

Pickard, on the other hand, seems to be willing to talk to anybody, about pretty much anything. Including fans of former rival teams. 

Tuesday, August 15: 5:46 PM (PT)

Calvin Pickard just arrived with our staff at the Frontier Ice Arena in Coeur d'Alene. It isn't the largest facility, although there some bona fide pro history here.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson, an alum of the nearby Spokane Chiefs, hosts clinics here.

Wayne Gretzky, who doesn't need much of an introduction, has a house here and has jerseys hung in the library in his dedication, as does former NHL defenseman Barret Jackman.

We have several dozen young skaters out here tonight, who are starting to file on the ice to skate with Calvin Pickard.

 

Video: Pickard mingles with fans in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

 

Tuesday, August 15: 4:48 PM (PT)

We just pulled into Coeur d'Alene!

For those not familiar with it, Coeur d'Alene is a nice, super quaint town in the northern part of Idaho. In fact, we're only about a half hour east from Spokane, Washington, too.

We've just stopped into downtown Coeur d'Alene, which is built around Lake Coeur d'Alene, including beaches, a lot of outdoor activities and an easily walkable main street.

Wayne Gretzky and Brett Hull, among others, are known residents of the area.

 

Video: Pickard arrives on the #VGKRoadTrip in Idaho

 

Our group just met up with Calvin Pickard. We'll be heading over to the Frontier Ice Center to participate in a public skate in about an hour.

 

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: Calvin Pickard and the #VGKRoadTrip has arrived in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho�� pic.twitter.com/CMJfLXtASz

 

Tuesday, August 15: 9:45 AM (PT)

Our road trip has crossed over into Montana. The way the geography works in this part of the country, even though Coeur d'Alene is pretty much a straight shot north of Idaho Falls, we have to swing east into Montana for a bit, drive north and head back west into Idaho.

We're on the road right now, enjoying some beautiful scenery.

Our team has also tended to some non road trip business this morning, having hired the first broadcast team in franchise history.

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: NEWS: We are proud to introduce our first-ever TV and radio broadcast teams.More: https://t.co/cIXunQdMXY pic.twitter.com/DraOS2F9gT

 

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: Inaugural Golden Knights BroadcastersTV PxP: Dave GoucherTV Color Commentary: Shane HnidyRadio PxP: Dan D���Uva

 

We'll have more on this as things transpire.

Meanwhile, only a few more hours to Coeur d'Alene!

 

Tuesday, August 15: 7:41 AM (MT)

After a quick night of sleep in Idaho Falls, we're back on the road. We have about seven hours to go this afternoon, where we'll be meeting up in Coeur d'Alene with Calvin Pickard.

 

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: #VGKRoadTrip Day 2: Idaho Falls��Coeur d'Alene.Calvin Pickard will join us for an open skate in Coeur d'Alene later this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/EHr3T3E2EZ

 

Monday, August 14: 8:41 PM (MT)

Over the course of today, we did a lot of driving.

After heading east out of Las Vegas this morning, we briefly passed through Arizona before spending most of our day heading north through Utah.

We will, of course, be returning to Utah on Saturday with coaches Gerard Gallant and Mike Kelly to participate in a public skate at the Salt Lake City Sports Complex at 10:30 AM.

But we have several stops before then.

Right now, we've just pulled into our hotel in Idaho Falls, before shuttling up to meet Calvin Pickard in Coeur d'Alene tomorrow to participate in a public skate.

 

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: The #VGKRoadTrip has arrived safe and sound in Idaho Falls!On to Coeur d'Alene with Calvin Pickard in the morning������ pic.twitter.com/hTlM8FcKJq

 

RELATED: #VGKRoadTrip will introduce Golden Knights to fans throughout Rocky Mountains

 

Monday, August 14: 9:24 AM (PT)

As of this morning, we're 53 days from our first regular-season game at the Dallas Stars.

Our team's first road trip, however, begins this morning.

This week, Golden Knights players and staff will embark on the #VGKRoadTrip, canvassing towns throughout the Rocky Mountains in Idaho, Montana and Utah. With Vegas' TV territory with AT&T SportsNet encompassing all of these areas, it's the team's hope to reach prospective new hockey fans in these states who don't have an indigenous home team to cheer for.

And with the team's players' presence throughout the season centered on Vegas, this is one of the Golden Knights' only opportunities to visit in-person with fans this year.

Today, we'll be bussing from Las Vegas to Idaho Falls, leading into Calvin Pickard's arrival with our caravan to Coeur d'Alene tomorrow.

Throughout this journey, we'll be providing updates and behind-the-scenes photos and videos here on VegasGoldenKnights.com.

Stay tuned for what stands to be a very exciting week for our club!

 

Remaining Caravan Schedule

Saturday, August 19 (Salt Lake City, UT)

  • Public skate at Salt Lake City Sports Complex (645 Guardsman Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108)
  • Time: 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. local
  • Coaches: Vegas Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant and Assistant Coach Mike Kelly
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