LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Four years ago, Gage Quinney made history becoming the first player born in Nevada to play in the National Hockey League. Thanks to the boom of youth hockey in Southern Nevada, we know he won’t be the last and this year there are a pair of Jr. Golden Knights players that look to be skating on the same trajectory as their NHL idols.

Rook Landahl and Miller Vaness look and sound like your everyday nine-year-olds, but once they hit the ice it’s obvious, they are anything but average. The two plays for the Vegas Jr. Golden Knights 10UAA and both will be teammates this summer at one of the biggest hockey showcases in North America.

“The Brick Tournament is a big tournament,” said Vegas Jr. Golden Knights 10UAA Head Coach, Harrison Luce. “It’s the best nine-year-olds around Canada and the U.S. all the kids from all the major hot beds of Montreal, Toronto, Canada and U.S.”

“When I was in Seattle for the Winter Classic game my parents took me into the shop when no one was around and told me I made the team and it made me very happy and appreciative,” explained Landahl.

“I said this is the best day ever,” said Vaness. “I was just so grateful and happy.”

Rook and Miller will play for the team, Western Selects, at the Brick Tournament, a team made up from the Pacific and Rocky Mountain districts which encapsulate thirteen states. There are 14 teams total at the tournament with 17 players per team, meaning out of the thousands of kids who try out between the United States and Canada, just 238 are invited and for the first time Las Vegas will have two representatives.

“It’s a big deal, because since last year I’ve been watching the Brick Tournament and I was like, ‘I want to go there so bad,’” said Landahl. “I was watching my friend on TV, and he scored a very good goal, and the crowd went crazy.”

The Brick Tournament is also known as an NHL factory. Both past and present stars of the league have participated in this event with a handful of Golden Knights as well, including Mark Stone, Alex Pietrangelo, Noah Hanifin, Brett Howden, Adin Hill, and Logan Thompson. Silver Knights forward Brendan Brisson played for Western Selects in 2011, just like Rook and Miller will do in July.

“It just shows when they were my age we were like the same. It’s just so cool,” said Vaness.

“(Rook Landahl) is a great, super intelligent kid,” said Luce. “Very smart for his age, high-end skill, can skate really well, moves the puck well, makes the players around him a lot better, always brings the energy, kind of has an infectious personality that way, but he’s really been the driving force for our team all year.”

“Miller is a great kid too. I’m most proud of him for the way he worked to get to this moment. He kind of had to go the extra mile to make this team this year. Super coachable, really big, strong kid for his age, and again like we talked about with hockey IQ and intelligence, he knows which areas to get to, he knows which parts of his game to be effective and he’s a kid that’s been super consistent for us all year.”

Luce says this tournament so so high-profile, that the next time these kids will have this level of attention would be their NHL Entray Draft year

“I want to be the best goal scorer and assists and have the most points there and hear my name on the intercom a lot,” said Landahl.

“Playing in the All-Star game and winning it,” said Vaness. “Making people look good, not making myself; other people.”

“My message to the kids will be enjoy it and have fun, it truly is a once in a lifetime and to get to go there and experience; there are more kids around the world who don’t get to, so they should have fun when they’re doing it,” said Luce.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *