It’s Super Bowl Sunday. You have the day off at a five-star oceanside resort in Fort Lauderdale. It’s a beautiful 80 degrees and sunny. Plus, a bunch of your co-workers/friends are there with you. So, what do you do?
We all spent our time together. We went to breakfast and then we met at the beach, played volleyball, a big tournament. Then we went and watched the Super Bowl, it was just the perfect day for our team. -Jonathan Marchessault
Last week after the Saturday game in Florida, nearly the entire team gathered for a meal, put on the swim trunks, and hit the sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. It was unscheduled, it was completely voluntary, and apparently, it was a blast.
I think me and Reilly (Smith) were like, we need to go play volleyball that day, it’ll be fun. I think we played for 3 or 4 hours. -Marchessault
There are a few moments where you can really tell how close a group was, but with this, it was not mandatory, and everybody showed up, everybody came, it says a lot. Guys were free to do whatever they wanted (that day), but guys wanted to come and wanted to enjoy a day with the boys. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
Get some Vitamin D, get in the ocean, pretty good workout, yeah it was good. We all just ended up in the same place and had a good time. -Max Pacioretty
It was the only true off day during the longest remaining road trip of the season. The Golden Knights had just taken frustrating losses in back-to-back nights in Carolina and Florida and were mired in the worst losing streak in franchise history. All eyes back in Vegas were on a Tuesday showdown with the best team in hockey, the Tampa Bay Lighting, but amid the panic at home, the Golden Knights had a different focus, a better one.
That day there were no cameras, there was no media, there was nobody but 20 guys. We didn’t care about anybody around us. We were so into having fun together and I thought it was huge. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
We just lost two games in a row, and we were disappointed with our effort, but it just got our minds off hockey, we just had fun the whole day, it was just the best timing, it was unreal. -Marchessault
Marchessault not only credits it for the turnaround on the road trip but he thinks that day will help propel the team going forward.
When you get to spend time with your teammates, especially when you have a great group here. We are lucky enough that we have long road trips and we get to know each other and get to spend time together, I think it helps in the long run. -Marchessault
These are the types of moments that can change teams. It’s not to say the Golden Knights were not a tight-knit group, but just to see the genuine look in the player’s eyes and to hear the responses when asked about it, this off day was special.
We all have different rankings, we all have different salaries, we are all in different spots in our lives, but it didn’t matter. You can’t go and play with your wife or with your kids as you can with grown-up guys, especially competitors like us. It was kind of a competitive moment in a fun way. Everyone was chirping each other and everyone was giving it back. I felt like I was back being a kid. There was no money involved, no media, no social media, just a bunch of guys having fun together. -Bellemare
Our team ended up losing in extra points, so I’m still pretty upset with that, but it was a great time. -Pacioretty
Just how great?
It was one of the best days of the season. -Marchessault
Since I’ve become a professional athlete, since I got my first salary, it was one of my favorite days. -Bellemare