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Prep rivals nearly inseparable at Golden Knights development camp

Updated June 26, 2019 - 9:52 pm

Ryder Donovan and Michael Vorlicky have been nearly inseparable this week at Golden Knights development camp.

But that wasn’t always the case.

The University of Wisconsin recruits were bitter rivals in high school in Minnesota and almost came to blows after a high-profile incident last fall before working out their differences and becoming close friends.

“For a while there, we were kind of at each other’s throats,” Vorlicky said Wednesday at City National Arena.

Donovan, a fourth-round pick by the Knights in this year’s draft, was a forward for northern powerhouse Duluth East High School, while Vorlicky, who went undrafted, excelled on defense at storied Edina High near the Twin Cities.

During a September matchup in the Upper Midwest Elite League before their prep seasons, Donovan and Vorlicky were battling in front of the net when chaos ensued.

“I just ran him,” Donovan said with a laugh. “He tried breaking my wrist, just chopped me. We go in the box, and I try to joke with him and he’s furious, he’s chirping me.”

And what about Vorlicky’s version of the story?

“I was standing in front of the net and he kind of cheap-shotted me,” he said. “The play was still going on, but I got up and just went to look for him, and I gave him a pretty good whack across the wrists. I ended up getting kicked out of that game, actually, so it just kind of went downhill from there.”

Not long after the incident, Vorlicky reached out to Donovan to squash their feud. Vorlicky committed to Wisconsin in January, and Donovan chose the Badgers in February after decommitting from North Dakota.

They roomed together on campus this summer in Madison and were together in the locker room at Wisconsin when Donovan was selected by the Knights on Saturday with the No. 110 overall pick.

“It was good to go through that because now it makes us kind of closer,” Vorlicky said. “I talked to him when he was going through his committing process, and we talked about the situation and kind of laughed it off, which was awesome.”

Call to the Hall

Boston College hockey coach Jerry York was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of a six-person class Monday, and Knights incoming president of hockey operations George McPhee praised his former coach.

McPhee played three seasons for York at Bowling Green from 1979 to 1982, winning the Hobey Baker Award as the nation’s top college hockey player as a senior. McPhee’s son, Graham, is a member of the Boston College hockey team and will be a senior this fall.

“Coach York is living proof that nice guys can finish first. The nicest man in hockey deserves this incredible honor,” George McPhee said. “He has been an invaluable mentor and leader for hockey players. The game of hockey has been enriched by Coach York’s lifetime in it.”

More Golden Knights: Follow at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.^

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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