weather icon Clear

‘Black Aces’ soak in success of Knights’ Stanley Cup playoff run

They worked out in secrecy, hockey’s answer to Area 51.

No one saw them. They didn’t talk to anyone. They skated behind curtains at City National Arena, quietly going about their business. You’ve heard their names. You may remember their faces. A mix of prospects, young players and veterans, working out together.

Meet the Golden Knights’ taxi squad, or, as they are commonly referred to in hockey parlance, the Black Aces.

The tradition goes back to 1940 when Eddie Shore referred to his players from his minor league team in Springfield, Massachusetts, that were recovering from injury or weren’t good enough to be called up to the Boston Bruins as “Black Aces.”

SHORT DESCRIPTION (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

But over the years, it has taken on a more positive meaning as teams have players prepare to play in the event they’re needed.

The Knights’ Black Aces included draft picks Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, Erik Brannstrom and Nic Hague. There were veterans Jason Garrison, Griffin Reinhart and Brandon Pirri. There were goaltenders Maxime Lagace, Oscar Dansk and Dylan Ferguson. All getting to skate together and be around the Knights’ amazing playoff run.

Lagace has actually suited up for the playoffs, serving as Marc-Andre Fleury’s backup after Malcolm Subban was injured in practice prior to Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.

“It’s great to experience this,” said Glass, the team’s first draft pick who went at No. 6 overall and played for the Portland Winterhawks in juniors this season. “Just to see how they prepare, the way they focus, how they handle the pressure, it’s great to see it up-close.”

Glass, who led the Winterhawks with 37 goals and 102 points, will be looking to win a job in the fall with the Knights and make the move to the NHL. He’s watching the way the way the current Knights practice, how hard they go through the drills and also how much fun they have.

“They really seem to be enjoying themselves and having a lot of fun,” he said. “The coaches have done an unbelievable job putting in the system and the way they’ve stuck with it. They play really fast and it gets the fans into it easily.”

Suzuki, who was taken in the first round at No. 13 overall a year ago, and led the Owen Sound Attack with 42 goals and 100 points, said: “Watching the way they play on the ice and how they conduct themselves off the ice has made an impression on me. Everything is about the team and they’ve been fun to watch.”

Brannstrom, who spent most of his season playing home in Sweden, said just being around everything has been good for him and he’s hoping the Knights can finish the job.

“They’re a good group and they’re good together and I hope they can go the whole way,” he said.

Brannstrom said fellow countryman William Karlsson’s remarkable season of a career-high 43 goals was not lost on the Swedish hockey community.

“Everyone back home knows how talented he is and he just needed an opportunity,” Brannstrom said.

Following the Knights’ win in the Western Conference Final, the prospects were no longer needed and headed home to prepare for the team’s development camp in late June. However, a few veterans are sticking around just in case. One of them, defenseman Jason Garrison, went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015 with Tampa Bay. He said being around the Knights has brought back fond memories.

“Greatest experience of my life,” said Garrison, who appeared in eight games with the Knights this season. “Just to be around it and to play for the Cup. It’s something you work your whole life toward. And even though we didn’t win it, to have the opportunity is something I’ll never forget.”

Garrison’s advice to the guys who will play for the Cup? Enjoy every moment.

“You never know when it’ll come around again so soak up every minute of it,” he said. “Enjoy it. Have fun with it.”

Garrison said he’s fine with it if he doesn’t play in the final.

“If they need us, it means something bad happened,” he said.

Contact Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Vegas Golden Knights President Kerry Bubolz on the Golden Edge Podcast
Review-Journal reporters Ben Gotz and David Schoen talk with Golden Knights president Kerry Bubolz about his experiences with LeBron James, the team's new initiatives, a possible MLS expansion team and more.
George McPhee Conference Call on Nikita Gusev trade - VIDEO
Golden Knights President of Operations George McPhee answers questions on a conference call about the teams most recent trade of Nikita Gusev to the New Jersey Devils.
Vegas Golden Knight's Deryk Engelland Happy to Re-Sign - Video
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland is happy to stay in Las Vegas after signing a one-year deal with the team.
Golden Aces hold Tryouts For 2019-2020 Season - Video
The Golden Aces hold tryouts for the 2019-2020 season for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knight's owner Bill Foley's House for sale in The Ridges - Real Estate Millions
Vegas Golden Knights, Fleury Make Day for Critically Ill Teenager in ESPN “My Wish” - Video
A 13-year-old Las Vegas boy who has faced Hodgkin’s lymphoma is treated to a special day by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights in a new ESPN “My Wish” Series feature debuting Wednesday, July 17, on SportsCenter. In the feature, Doron Coldwell spends a day with the team and even gets an opportunity to replace his favorite player, three-time Stanley Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury, in the net.
Golden Knights Sell "Battle Worn Armor" To Season Ticket Holders - Video
The Golden Knights sell their "battle worn" apparel throughout both of the teams seasons including pucks, sticks, helmets and skates.
Summerlin 4th of July Parade - VIDEO
On July 4th Summerlin will be hosting the 25th annual Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade, an event that has grown massively over the years
Golden Knights McPhee talks on the first day of NHL free agency - VIDEO
Golden Knights incoming president of operations George McPhee addresses the media as free agency starts.
Golden Knights Trade Colin Miller as Development Camp ends - VIDEO
George McPhee speaks to the media following the end of the Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Development Camp Day 4 - VIDEO
Nic Hague stands out at day 4 of Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Hold First Scrimmage of Development Camp - Video
The first of three scrimmages was held at the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writers Adam Hill and David Schoen discuss what stood out to them.
Golden Knights George McPhee Discusses Erik Haula Trade - Video
A day after it was announced that Erik Haula had been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, incoming President of Hockey Operations George McPhee spoke to the media discussing the move.
Golden Knights Trade Erik Haula - Video
The Golden Knights have traded Erik Haula to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for prospect Nicolas Roy. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writer Adam Hill discuss the trade.
Golden Knights Coaches Looking for Veterans to Step Up in Development Camp - Video
Day two of the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp is in the books. Director of Player Development Wil Nichol says his staff is looking for the veterans of the camp to step up and be leaders to the younger guys, while at the same time doing their best to impress the coaching staff.
Golden Knights Draft Player with Strong Hockey Bloodlines - Video
The Golden Knights drafted Mason Primeau in the 5th round of the 2019 NHL Draft. Primeau is no stranger to professional hockey, both his dad (Wayne Primeau) and his uncle (Keith Primeau) played in the NHL.
Golden Knights Kelly McCrimmon Talks Development Camp - VIDEO
Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon talks about what he expects from everyone at development camp on their first day.
Golden Knights Dylan Coghlan On Veteran Experience - VIDEO
Golden Knights defenseman Dylan Coghlan talks about his veteran experience playing in Chicago and development camp.
Golden Knights President George McPhee talks about Williams Karlsson's 8 year deal
George McPhee presser highlights June 25, 2019.
Golden Knights Center William Karlsson speaks to media about 8 year contract
William Karlsson presser highlights June 25, 2019.
Golden Knights Development Camp at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada
For the third consecutive year, Vegas Golden Knights Development Camp participants participated in a special community event at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
2019 NHL Awards Highlight Video
The 2019 NHL Awards took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. Though Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone came close to winning the best defensive forward trophy, St. Louis Blues center Ryan O' Reilly took home the coveted Frank Selke Trophy. Jason Zucker, who was raised in Las Vegas and plays for the Minnesota Wild, accepted the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarianism. Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov took home the NHL's MVP Award. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gary Bettman discusses NHL rule changes - VIDEO
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the media after Wednesday’s Board of Governor’s meeting.
Golden Knights' Mark Stone up for Selke Trophy
Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone is a finalist for the Selke Trophy. The award goes to the best defensive forward in the NHL. Stone led the league in takeaways last season with 122. His competition is St. Louis Blues center Ryan O'Reilly... And Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron. Stone will find out if he wins Wednesday at the NHL Awards.
Vegas Golden Knights announce preseason schedule
The Golden Knights announced their preseason schedule Tuesday, as well as the date of their rookie camp and training camp.
Mark Stone and Stanley Cup visit MGM Grand
Mark Stone took photos and signed autographs for Golden Knights fans at the MGM Grand on Sunday. The Stanley Cup also made its way into the MGM Grand Main Lobby. The most revered trophy in hockey is on display to celebrate the upcoming 2019 NHL awards at the Mandalay Bay Center on June 19th. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights, Raiders Unite for Charity Softball Game - Video Highlights
Golden Knights and Raiders players alike were more than excited to join together in a charity softball game to raise money for pediatric cancer. Players from both teams cannot wait for the Raiders to arrive in Las Vegas so more joint events can take place.
Golden Knights and Raiders Raise over $100K in Charity Softball Game - Video Highlights
In the first-ever Battle For Vegas Charity Softball Game, the Golden Knights and Raiders raised $136,000 for the Tyler Robinson Foundation. At the end of the nights, it was the Raiders that raised the Battle For Vegas trophy, after beating the Golden Knights 20-16. Take a look at some of the highlights from the game!
Golden Knights' Reilly Smith Ready to Battle for Vegas - Video
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith is ready to Battle For Vegas in a charity softball game that will feature various celebrity athletes, including teammates Jonathan Marchessault, Ryan Reaves and Erik Haula. Smith's team will face off against former Raider Marcus Allen and his teammates, including Vontaze Burfict, Josh Jacobs and Maurice Hurst. The charity softball game is set to take place on Saturday, June 15th at the Las Vegas Ballpark.
Golden Knights Will Have a New Home in Henderson - Video
The Golden Knights are saying goodbye to the Henderson Convention Center and hello to the team's new hockey facility that will be located in the second largest city in Nevada. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)