LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The future of hockey is in Las Vegas.
While the city prepares to host NHL All-Star Weekend, the Vegas Golden Knights are celebrating youth hockey with several events planned for boys and girls across the Valley.
On Thursday night, the Vegas Junior Golden Knights stormed City National Arena. Dozens of girls skated in a skills competition and even got a video greeting from members of the U.S. Women’s Olympic Team.
In Nevada, youth hockey participation has increased by 200 percent. Girls hockey is the group that has grown the fastest.
“It’s an exciting time for girls hockey and a lot of opportunities for them to get in the game and play here,” said Sheri Hudspeth. She coaches girls hockey in Las Vegas. “We’re out there now. You’re seeing women coaches out there. With the success of our team on our Instagram pages, our Facebook pages; you’re seeing girls.”
Having All-Star Weekend here in Las Vegas solidifies the city’s commitment to the sport ensuring future generations continue its legacy.
“It just elevates the exposure to the game and for the kids,” said Daren Millard.
Millard is the broadcast host for the Vegas Golden Knights. Friday night, he will emcee the NHL Street Ball Clinic at Lifeguard Arena in Henderson. Hundred of boys and girls will be introduced to hockey and attend an NHL All-Star Skills watch party outside of the building.
“They get to go see the Stanely Cup at Fan Fair,” Millard said. “They get to watch the superstars do their thing in a casual atmosphere with their helmets off and not be so intense. And then the fun of the game. There are just so many different elements for the kids to be able to see their heroes on the ice whether they’re with the Golden Knights or other players.”
On Saturday, City National Arena will host a couple of “Learn to Play” events, while the Lifeguard Arena will host an NHL All-Star Game watch party on the video board.
The NHL All-Star Game starts at 12 p.m. on Saturday and airs on ABC Ch. 13. Then on Sunday at noon, the NFL Pro Bowl airs on ABC Ch. 13. Both games are followed by special editions of 13 Action News.