On a chilly, January day in upstate New York, the Vegas Golden Knights visited a historical American academy: the United States Military Academy West Point. 

The visit had been a requisite for team owner and 1967 alumnus Bill Foley who has linked his Army background with his hockey team since the team’s inception. Difficulties in scheduling made a visit to his alma mater with his team challenging, but a two-day break in the middle of the Golden Knights’ New York swing allowed the team to make the trip.

Naturally, Foley was excited to go back to West Point and this time, bring the Stanley Cup. 

“I just think it’s great to have our team come in to see what West Point’s all about,” Foley said. “To experience the history and the aura of WestPoint. I got to eat lunch with company A1, my old company. It was a fun experience.” 

However, there are more ties to West Point among the Golden Knights than just Foley. 

A self-proclaimed history buff, Head Coach Bruce Cassidy was excited to see West Point, as he had never been before. 

“I think it’s awesome,” Cassidy said. “Real excited to do it. I had never been there, and I looked forward to going. I’m kind of a history guy myself, so I think it’s a great experience.” 

The visit was all the more special as Cassidy had a chance to catch up with a previous player of his, Zach McKelvie, now the Associate Head Coach for Army’s hockey team. Both coaches first crossed paths back in 2011 in Providence when Cassidy was head coach of the Providence Bruins and McKelvie played for the team. 

“McKelvie’s been coaching for 10 years now,” Cassidy said. “You know you're old when your players have been coaching that long. It was great to visit with him.” 

For Golden Knights forward Paul Cotter, the stop presented a chance for him to see his close friend Andrew Garby and learn how much detail goes into being a West Point cadet. 

“One of my best friends plays on the hockey team and we got to have lunch with him so that was pretty unique,” said Cotter. “I never thought I’d be doing that. It’s a different way of living. Some of the stuff that they have to do is pretty crazy. It’s hard work but it pays off at the end.” 

Keegan Kolesar found the trip to West Point honoring. The visit to West Point affirmed a lot of the notions Kolesar had about the lifestyle of cadets that he’s learned about first-hand.

“It’s really cool that they would accept us there to come and check out their facilities,” said Kolesar. “It’s amazing to see how passionate all the kids are. A lot of them were really trying to talk to us and get to know us so it was cool to be around them and see what they go through.”

Kolesar had a slight insight into what it takes to be a West Point cadet as his brother Trey spent time at the academy. While Kolesar joked that there was “no chance” he could make it as a cadet, he has a profound respect for what it takes.

“Some of the stories he told me are kind of crazy,” said Kolesar. “I can’t believe he went through some of the stuff that he did. I guess they have to break you down a bit and see what you’re made of. I can still beat my brother, but he’s probably tougher than I am now. He’s mentally strong.” 

The opportunity to tour West Point provided the players with a better understanding and appreciation of Foley, who was honored and presented with a Cadet Saber. 

“Bill is what West Point is in its truest sense,” said Kolesar. “He left a legacy there and to see that he’s still remembered and honored the way he is, it just goes to show how important of a person that he was to that school and how important of a man he is now.”