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Golden Knights enter youth hockey business

Updated April 4, 2017 - 9:46 pm

The Golden Knights want their brand to be global. But the truth is, any successful brand starts and ends at home.

Which is why the NHL expansion team announced Tuesday it is partnering with the Nevada Storm youth hockey program to help grow the game. The program will be rebranded the Vegas Junior Golden Knights, and a seven-person board comprised of Golden Knights officials and local youth hockey leaders will oversee the program’s operation.

“I think it’s the best thing for kids and for youth hockey locally,” said John Brooks, whose family runs the Storm and owns the Las Vegas Ice Center. “Everywhere the NHL has gone, hockey has exploded. The Golden Knights are committed to this, and it should result in a lot more kids playing, which is everyone’s goal.”

Brad Sholl, who will oversee youth hockey for the Knights, said having the NHL’s resources behind it will help grow youth hockey in Las Vegas.

According to USA Hockey, there were 455 registered youth hockey players in Nevada for 2016.

“We have to do a lot of community outreach,” Sholl said. “We need to get sticks in the hands of kids, even if its ball hockey. But we also have to get kids to sign up for the Learn to Play program, which is free, and introduce them to the game.”

Another segment of the partnership is all three ice rinks — the Knights’ practice facility, Brooks’ Las Vegas Ice Center and the SoBe Ice Arena at Fiesta Rancho — will work together to coordinate practice and game times.

Tryout dates for the Junior Golden Knights mite through midget teams will be announced in the coming weeks.

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

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