Last year the Golden Knights offered a program called VGK University in which fans were able to skate at T-Mobile Arena, get tickets to games, and attend classroom sessions taught by Senior Vice President Murray Craven and Director of Hockey Operations Misha Donskov. The program sold out quickly and the response from those who attended was tremendous, which is why VGKU is back this year.
VGK University presented by City National Bank will take place on Vegas Golden Knights game days, and feature Hockey 101 lessons including hockey basics, offensive and defensive strategies, special teams and coaching preparation. In addition, VGK University will have optional skates at T-Mobile Arena before the Hockey 101 sessions, including introductory hockey skill instruction from Craven & Donskov. Skate rentals will be provided. Participants also receive a ticket to the respective Golden Knights game with their VGK University package. -Golden Knights Press Release
Obviously, the highlights are skating on the ice at T-Mobile and attending games, but take it from me, the part that will stick with you more than anything else from VGK University will be the Hockey 101 sessions.
Last year I was given the opportunity to sit in on a session of VGK University, and to say the least, I was blown away with how great it was. Misha and Murray go incredibly in-depth teaching the game mainly through video. They illustrate principals of the game, then show video clips to bring them to life.
The classes begin fairly basic but progress into much deeper concepts including things like forechecking strategies, defense to offense transition, and penalty kill structure. No matter who you are or how long you’ve been watching (or even playing) hockey, you’ll learn something in these classroom sessions.
Dosnkov is a former video coordinator/hockey analytics coordinator for Team Canada. He’s also been an assistant coach for three Canada gold medals (2016 IIHF, 2015 IIHF, 2015 World Juniors). Craven played in the NHL for 18 seasons scoring 266 goals and tallying 759 points in just over 1,000 games. In other words, when combined these guys have forgotten more hockey than most current NHL players know and they are sharing that knowledge with you at VGK University.
I’ve turned my career into covering the Golden Knights and analyzing the game of hockey, and I can safely say I left the 90-minute session with at least ten pieces of info I didn’t know before I came in. Donskov’s ability to illustrate concepts via video makes you feel like you are in a legit NHL film-session and Craven’s experience allows him to add a depth of knowledge to the film that’s almost mindblowing.
They aren’t using recycled clips from old games either. They use film from recent Golden Knights games (including one clip from a game two nights prior to the session I attended), to show when things went right, and also when things went wrong on the ice.
If you have any interest in learning more about the game of hockey, this is a can’t miss.
There are five sessions open to the public and one that is specially reserved for season ticket holders.
- October 24 vs. Vancouver – Topic: Intro to Hockey
- November 16 vs.St. Louis – Topic: Intro to Hockey
- Season ticket holders only
- December 9 vs. Dallas – Topic: Creating Offense
- January 23 vs. Nashville – Topic: Defensive Strategy
- February 9 vs. Columbus – Topic: Special Teams
- February 22 vs. Winnipeg – Topic: A Day in the Life of a Coach
The price is $249 and includes a ticket to the game that night. Or, if you already have a ticket it’s $149 for the skate on T-Mobile Arena’s ice and the classroom session. Plus, a portion of every package will be donated to the Vegas Golden Knights Foundation.
In just 90 minutes, you’ll be seeing things on the ice you’ve never seen before. It’s not often you have a chance to be taught the game from two of the best minds in an NHL organization, and the Golden Knights are offering it for the second year in a row. It’s well worth it, believe me. Tickets are available here.