This week begins the unofficial start to the 2021-22 NHL season. Fresh Golden Knights prospects will hit the ice for Wednesday’s Rookie Camp and try to impress the men that drafted them and the coach that may lead them in the future. Sure, it won’t be the names you’ll see in Pete DeBoer’s regular season lineup but it’s hockey nevertheless and a reminder to fans that their favorite local team is only weeks from competing for another chance at the Stanley Cup.
Although it’s only Vegas’ fifth rookie training camp we can all agree that this is a new era for Golden Knights hockey. Who would’ve thought we’d be saying that but it’s true. Just one player off the roster changed the face and direction of the 31st franchise. Fans are still upset after the club traded Marc-Andre Fleury back in July and some (most) will never get over it. However, Vegas has a reasonable fanbase that will gladly trade in some painful news for an oversized, shiny silver chalice. That chase, in essence, starts on Wednesday.
VGK Important Dates:
Wednesday, September 15: Rookie Camp opens
Thursday, September 16: First day of rookie on-ice practice
Friday, Sept. 17: Rookie Faceoff- Vegas at Arizona, 7:30 PM
Sunday, Sept. 19: Vegas at San Jose, 2:00 PM
Monday, Sept. 20: Los Angeles at Vegas, 11:00 AM
Wednesday, September 22: Main Camp opens
Thursday, September 23: First day of on-ice practice
As you can see the schedule is fairly fluid starting Wednesday, leading up until Vegas’ first preseason game against San Jose. Beginning this week, loose diets, offseason bad habits, and summer mentalities will have to change in order to properly prepare for Game 1 of the preseason. After all, the regular season will come quick and the Golden Knights are eyeing another fast start in October.
Preseason Games Begin
Sunday, September 26: Vegas Golden Knights vs. San Jose Sharks (T-Mobile Arena, 7 p.m. PT)
Tuesday, September 28: Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche (T-Mobile Arena, 7 p.m. PT)
Thursday, September 30: Vegas vs. Los Angeles (Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT, 6 p.m. PT)
Friday, October 1: Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings (T-Mobile Arena, 7 p.m. PT)
Tuesday, October 5: Vegas Golden Knights at Colorado Avalanche (Ball Arena, Denver, 6 p.m. PT)
Thursday, October 7: Vegas Golden Knights vs. Arizona Coyotes (T-Mobile Arena, 7 p.m. PT)
Rookie camp may not garner the same amount of attention as Vegas’ late September preseason games but nevertheless, it’s an important date on the sports calendar. Look at Rookie Camp like Labor Day, it’s not the unofficial end of summer but it’s the unofficial beginning to a new Golden Knights season. And like the last four, it should be exciting, stressful but hopefully rewarding.
While Vegas is no longer a team full of Misfits or led by a charming, Vezina-winning goaltender, the focus is still the same. From The Creator to the highly motivated players and all the way down to the thirsty fans, expectations for the 2021-22 season are the same.
Cup or bust.