Updated December 7, 2023 - 4:08 pm
Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud nodded in approval as his lockermate answered a question Wednesday night.
It wasn’t one of his teammates talking about when momentum turned in the Knights’ 6-3 win against the St. Louis Blues, however. It was Whitecloud’s father Tim.
“It took them a period to get going, but once they did I think they got the legs going,” Tim Whitecloud said. “My take was they were a step behind, but they came on strong in the second and it showed.”
Zach Whitecloud turned to his father and agreed with the assessment, flashing a big smile. It’s the kind of moment the two will remember forever. It’s also the kind that comes with the team’s annual dads’ trip.
The Knights haven’t just made memories spending extra time with those close to them. They’ve experienced a lot of success on the ice.
The Knights improved to 8-0-1 all-time on dads’ trips after Wednesday’s victory. They’ll wrap this latest one up at 1 p.m. Saturday against the Dallas Stars.
A special crew 💛 pic.twitter.com/u8PUEsqbvm
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) December 7, 2023
“We had a really good record on these trips when I played with St. Louis too,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s no different than watching my kids. When mom and dad are watching, they try extra hard. I think there’s a little bit of that and I think everybody gets excited. It keeps you loose. I think most of us will say it’s the most fun we’ll have on a trip all season.”
Each trip involves more than just the dads going to games and donning their son’s jersey.
The Knights plan several events ever year.
The team had a large group dinner in St. Louis on Tuesday night, sharing Italian food and lots of laughs.
“A little added humor and comedy for sure,” Zach Whitecloud said. “I think every guy likes bringing their dad, or whoever they choose to bring. Just to have that extra person around makes it, not more fun because we always have fun, but it’s special.”
The extra people on the trip makes accommodations more interesting.
Some players are rooming with their dads, while some dads are rooming together.
Defenseman Nic Hague joked there was no way he was going to let his father Bob crash in his room because the dads would probably stay out late together. Bob Hague is staying with center Chandler Stephenson’s father Curt instead.
DADS ARE HERE! 👋
You’re gonna want to watch until the end to see Mr. Stone’s shirt 😄 pic.twitter.com/P810hWQKjC
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) December 5, 2023
“It’s obviously a lot of fun,” Nic Hague said. “They get to hang out with us and see what we’re all about on the road. Always a lot of laughs and we’re feeling good.”
The success helps as well. The dads’ trip was one of the turning points of the Knights’ season last year.
They were 0-2-2 their last four games and 1-5-2 their last eight when they took their fathers to Nashville and Minnesota in February. The Knights won both games to kick start a 22-4-5 finish in the regular season, then went on to win the Stanley Cup.
“This is a close-knit group to begin with and my guess is the dads are as well,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I think that goes hand in hand. The second part is that everyone wants to play well in front of their dads and obviously our guys do as well. I was only here for last year and we were clear winners in both games. We didn’t fluke our way through either.”