LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – The Golden Knights have made it a habit over their first seven years of re-writing history, and the trickle-down effect has produced youth hockey teams creating their own history for the state.

After a perfect 16-0 regular season in the Pacific Girls Hockey League, the Vegas Jr. Golden Knights girls 14U AA team punched their ticket to the USA National Tournament, becoming the first female hockey program to represent the state of Nevada.

“I’m so proud of them.” said Head Coach, Gordie Mark. “I believe it only sets them up for success going down the road too; playing under pressure, being the first to do something, representing their state, their city, their families, and themselves. It’s only going to set them up for success in the future.”

Gordie Mark played in the NHL for parts of four seasons with the New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers. He even played right here in Las Vegas for the Thunder during the 1995-96 season.

“Says a lot about the guys doing the private lessons with these girls, the coaches they’ve had before me,” said Mark. “They’ve bought into what I’m teaching them; Effort beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard. I quite often believe we’re the hardest working team on the ice, that leads to some success.”

The girls have been all over the country, from Nashville to San Jose, Denver to St. Louis, playing in big tournaments to prepare them for nationals in South Dakota.

“From only winning a few tournaments a few years ago, now going to Nationals. A great accomplishment in my life and I find it crazy that it’s grown this much in just three years and I’m just really excited.” said Vegas Jr. Golden Knights left winger, Kalie Kizanis.

“I feel like it’s going to be really big competition, but I feel we’ll do good,” said Presley Diehl-Griego. “We’re playing really good.”

“We want to go, we want to compete, play our hardest, play our hearts out, we want to win and go out and play our best game of hockey,” said Kizanis.

Win or lose this group of young ladies have now set the standard for the next generation of hockey players here in the valley.

“I find it crazy that we have little girls that look up to me and want to be just like me,” said Kizanis. “I was that little girl and I find it crazy that other little girls are looking up to me.”

“All these little girls come into hockey, and they can see us, the Vegas Golden Knights girls first to be in Nationals, so I think that’s really cool,” said Diehl-Griego.

“They’re a great group of kids,” said Mark. “Mature beyond their years, great families. and they’re going to represent the state to the best of their ability. I firmly believe that.”

The team has put together a pair of fundraising efforts to with their travel to the USA hockey Nationals.

Also, on Thursday, March 14th, the team will host a public skate at City National Arena from 6:20 p.m – 7:20 p.m. A $15 donation gives you the opportunity to lace up the skates and hit the ice with the team.


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