The Vegas Golden Knights took a trip up to Bordewich-Bray Elementary School and Carson Middle School on Friday to spark interest in the game of hockey at the youth level.
Matt Flynn, Vegas’ senior manager of youth hockey development, helped run clinics at both schools – along with other members of the Knights’ staff – designed to gain more traction for the game in Northern Nevada.
The Knights spent Thursday in Reno and have run several other trips in areas with smaller hockey climates in an effort to grow the understanding of the game.
“It’s to expose kids to this game that don’t have a real chance to do it,” said Flynn. “Putting a stick in their hands and letting them play a little bit, with a little more support from our NHL club, is key.”
The Golden Knights donated hockey equipment to schools at all four stops, leaving Carson Middle School with four nets, 50 sticks, 50 balls, 50 reversible jerseys and other equipment to allow the physical education departments a chance to continue teaching the sport, following the clinic.
Flynn says after each clinic he sends a teaching curriculum to each school with practice plans, skill progressions and basic hockey knowledge to give coaches more avenues to teach kids about the sport.
“Personally, it’s very rewarding. I love being out in the community,” said Flynn. “Being remembered for those things is certainly a positive. Seeing kids maybe looking for that next activity that they can feel a part of is a big thing we preach.
“We’re all trying to get our kids away from TV screens and that gets harder and harder with more technology. Seeing them recognize that this is another game they could try, is what is rewarding,” added Flynn.
While at Carson Middle School, the Golden Knights ran two clinics over an hour and 40 minute time frame, starting with stick handling and passing techniques before moving into game play inside of the gymnasium.
For Flynn, getting each kid to be a fan of the Golden Knights would be a plus, but he will happily take new fans of hockey.
“It’s recognizing they can be fans of the game of hockey,” said Flynn. “It’s to build a fan, to have them build an affinity for the game. When they’re watching on TV or listening to the radio, now they can connect some of the terminology that they’re hearing.”
For Flynn the lessons the game of hockey teaches are a big reason why he’s a believer in the Knights’ camps – whether they’re in Vegas, Northern Nevada or elsewhere in the United States.
“It’s teamwork, humility, things like that,” Flynn said. “Seeing them recognize that this is another game they could try, is what is rewarding.”
Vegas also held a watch party Friday night at the Govenor’s Mansion as the Golden Knights took on the Dallas Stars in Dallas.
Along with the watch party, attendees were encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for a food drive.