Not only has Nick Holden’s family taken to Las Vegas since moving here this summer, but it also has grown by one.
Holden’s wife, Angela, gave birth to the couple’s fourth child, a boy named Ryer, on Wednesday.
“It went really great,” said Holden, a defenseman who signed with the Golden Knights as a free agent in July. “It went fast, and everyone’s doing well.”
Holden and his family are used to adapting to new surroundings. The Knights will be the fifth NHL team for the 31-year-old, who split time between the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins last season.
The transition to life in the desert has been easy.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” said Holden, who returned to practice Friday after missing one day of camp for the delivery. “We hadn’t spent a whole lot of time here, but we came down here to look for a place, and just driving around it’s so beautiful. We loved the landscape, and now that we’ve been here, everyone is just so welcoming.
“It’s amazing how many Knights fans there are.”
That support will only grow for Holden if he’s a steadying veteran influence on a Knights defense that will be without suspended Nate Schmidt for 20 games and is still missing unsigned Shea Theodore.
“I couldn’t tell you what my role is going to be once the season starts, but throughout my career, I have been able to play many different roles, so whatever is needed, that’s what I’ll try to bring to the team,” Holden said. “Coaches have used me on the left, the right, power play, penalty kill. Really everywhere. My adaptability is an asset to me.”
That’s the kind of flexibility coaches love, and the Knights’ Gerard Gallant has liked what he’s seen from the Alberta, Canada, native.
“He’s a good solid player that’s been in the league and has some good experience,” Gallant said. “He’s really going to help our team. He moves the puck well. He’s a good all-around player from what I’ve seen. Every coach that has talked about him says he’s a really important guy on your team.”
Holden is a reliable defender who doesn’t have much flash in his game. He knows that he needs to showcase his talents in the preseason to make an impression and earn a spot in the opening-night lineup.
His kids might be more excited about summer ending than anything else.
“The first couple weeks we were just trying to go air-conditioned car to air-conditioned house to rink,” Holden said with a laugh. “My boys (Carter and Parker) would walk outside and get all dramatic, like, ‘Oh, it’s so hot out. I have to dunk my head in water.’ It was funny.
“But we’re starting to get involved in hockey and school and everything. At first, it was just trying to navigate yourself around and figure out where you’re going, but we know our grocery store now and it’s starting to get cool enough that people are coming out of their houses, so we’re meeting the neighbors.”
Who: Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks
What: NHL exhibition game
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: SAP Center, San Jose, Calif.
Radio: KRLV (1340 AM, 98.9 FM)