With Opening Night just four weeks away, the entire Chicago Wolves coaching staff and several players from the Wolves’ 2019 Western Conference championship team are in Las Vegas to start preparing for the 2019-20 season.
Head coach Rocky Thompson and assistants Chris Dennis and Bob Nardella are leading today’s initial practice of the Vegas Golden Knights’ rookie camp. Then the group travels to California to compete in the Anaheim Rookie Tournament Sept. 7-10 at Great Park Ice in Anaheim.
“We’re ready to roll,” Thompson said.
Vegas’ 26-man roster for the tournament features center Cody Glass and defensemen Nic Hague, Zach Whitecloud and Dylan Coghlan — each of whom played a large role in the Wolves’ run to a third consecutive Central Division title and the 2019 Calder Cup Finals.
Forwards Paul Cotter, Lucas Elvenes, Ben Jones and Jake Leschyshyn and goaltender Jiri Patera also spent time on the Wolves roster last year. Leschyshyn made his professional debut with the Wolves in April and practiced with the team throughout the playoffs.
(The rookie tournament also is noteworthy because Wolves general manager Wendell Young’s son, Jack, has been tapped by the NHL to work games as an official. The 18-year-old, who graduated from Prospect High School in May, will be the youngest official working the tournament.)
The rookie tournament’s conclusion segues directly into the start of the Vegas Golden Knights’ training camp that begins Sept. 12. The Golden Knights open their seven-game exhibition schedule on Sept. 15.
The Wolves start training camp Sept. 22 at Triphahn Ice Arena in Hoffman Estates. The Wolves’ camp, which is open to the public, concludes Sept. 28 and includes a pair of exhibition games in Milwaukee. The Wolves face the Milwaukee Admirals at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26, and the Tucson Roadrunners at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27. The latter game is not open to the public.
The Wolves host their home opener on Saturday, Oct. 5, against the Grand Rapids Griffins at Allstate Arena. The first 5,000 fans receive a 2019 Western Conference champions banner courtesy of Jewel-Osco.