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Knights keep party going with stop at owner’s Montana ranch

The Stanley Cup has made its latest stop: Rock Creek Cattle Company in Montana.

The Golden Knights and their significant others arrived at owner Bill Foley’s sprawling ranch — where they take an annual training camp retreat — Thursday for a quick getaway before returning for their championship parade Saturday.

Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo had asked Foley if they could pay a visit during a phone call from a different team party at defenseman Alec Martinez’s house.

Foley said the group arrived in four different airplanes, with the first one arriving at 11 a.m. and heading straight to the golf course. Guests then drove ATVs, had dinner, enjoyed some drinks at the bar and played poker until early in the morning. The one activity Foley said was off limits was shooting given all the, well, liquids the Knights were consuming.

“They may have done some shots, but they weren’t shooting,” Foley said. “It was like the bonding trip in October. They saw the sun come up. And then they went out and they played more golf.”

Bergeron’s big call

Knights president of hockey operations George McPhee said as part of the team’s vetting process for hiring coach Bruce Cassidy, general manager Kelly McCrimmon asked captain Mark Stone to call Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron.

Cassidy was fired by the Bruins last summer despite leading them to the second-best record in the NHL during his six-year tenure. He led Boston to Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, but it lost on home ice to Pietrangelo and the St. Louis Blues.

Bergeron knew better than most the kind of coach the Knights were getting.

“I guess at the end of their conversation, the end of the call, Patrice said ‘Holy smokes. Vegas is going hire Bruce Cassidy and they’re going to win the Stanley Cup next year,’” said McPhee, who gave Cassidy his first NHL coaching job in Washington. “Good for Butch (Cassidy’s nickname).”

Draft on its way?

Foley said the Knights are “working on” possibly hosting the 2024 NHL draft.

Las Vegas has plenty of experience putting on some of the league’s premier events. The NHL’s annual awards show was held on the Strip for 10 years.

This year’s draft will take place in Nashville on June 28-29.

“We’ve had some good feedback,” Foley said. “It would really be fun.”

More rinks coming?

Foley said the Knights are looking at building more rinks in the valley with the goal of adding four more ice sheets.

The team’s current facilities are packed thanks to the explosion in hockey interest that’s come with all its success. Foley said the Knights are targeting one area by the Henderson Executive Airport and hope to have another building go up farther north in the Centennial Hills area if they can come to an agreement with city officials.

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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