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Marc-Andre Fleury of Golden Knights gets to know Las Vegas

Goalie stays busy on first full day with new team

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS -- Marc-Andre Fleury helped young Gerald Davis put on pint-size goalie equipment.

Other tasks were more challenging. For instance, trying to show 8-year-old Sophie Smith how to properly hold a hockey stick and coax her to come back for another shot on goal.

Thursday was Fleury's first full day as Vegas Golden Knights goalie, and it was crammed with activities morning through afternoon. The last public event was a street hockey clinic at Paradise Recreational Center for day-camp kids aged 5 to 12.

"They didn't have any blockers, so I've got to give them kudos," Fleury said, smiling.

There weren't too many questions from the children for the three-time Stanley Cup champion. One, however, did ask afterward: "Do we get to be on TV?"

Fleury's love for the sport came through with the kids, and he has a well-crafted patience that comes with being the father of two young children. He said the kids at the street hockey clinic were pretty shy.

"Most of it was about shooting the ball and holding the stick in the right position," said Fleury, who played his first 13 NHL seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins. "I love the sport and I love to play. Throughout the season, we can meet kids and show passion about the game, and maybe some kids will like it and pick it up and have fun playing. That's all that matters."

Fortunately, the event was inside on a sweltering day in Las Vegas. Fleury joked that his "fair skin" would burn if he was outside too long.

It's been a deep dive into the community for Fleury, who received a standing ovation Wednesday when he walked onstage at T-Mobile Arena as one of 30 players selected by Vegas in the NHL Expansion Draft. He went looking for houses earlier Wednesday. 

On Thursday, he was with some of his new teammates at a media availability bright and early at The Armory team store. Later, they met UFC President Dana White.

It was a quick, direct blast of the Las Vegas experience.

"I think you feel the buzz more once you are here, about the game and about the team," Fleury said. "Being a new team, the first (major league) team in the city, I think it's important we get out to meet the fans, meet people and introduce the kids to the game."

In between, Fleury has been texting with some of his new teammates who were not on hand for the expansion draft. One is David Perron, most recently of the St. Louis Blues. Perron and Fleury played together for two seasons in Pittsburgh.

"He's going to be awesome for the franchise," Perron said of Fleury in a telephone interview with "He's great. He doesn't ever worry about anything except the next save. That's what is so impressive about his whole career.

"He's always having fun. He does an excellent job to forget what happens, even if it's a bad game. If he gets pulled, the next day he comes to practice and you swear we won the game and we got a shutout."

Perron said he spoke with Fleury after finding out Tuesday night he would be selected by the Golden Knights.

"When I got up in the morning and started thinking about everything, suddenly I got really excited," Perron said. "I'm already looking forward to look for a place to live next year. That means the process has started."

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