LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Family and hockey go hand-in-hand. This season alone there have been 20 sets of siblings that have played at the National Hockey League level. Though, the brotherly bond isn’t just reserved for those playing it, but those who take care of it as well.

“My name is Chris Cotsilis, I am the ice technician of the Vegas Golden Knights.”

There are some who grow up dreaming of playing in the NHL and then there are others like Chris Cotsilis who couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel of hockey’s hot rod.

“Going to games as a kid, always looking on the ice, admiring the machine. Always knew if you didn’t make you have to have a Plan B. I came into too many injuries, so I just had to keep working at rinks and driving the [Zamboni],” said Cotsilis. “You love it, you learn it and there just comes a point where you say I’m done playing, I just want to keep working, give back, and take care of hockey rinks.”

Chris has been taking care of hockey rinks since he was 16 years old, following in his older brother, Nick’s footsteps, a former Zamboni driver for the Las Vegas Wranglers.

“Wranglers games were off the charts and seeing him drive was cool, it was like I want to do that as well. Sitting in the stands, I want to drive in circles. Always watching him driving, shoveling snow for him made me want to have someone shovel snow for me.”

After putting in his time at The Orleans for a couple seasons, Nick had a stint in Phoenix with the Coyotes before eventually making his way back home in Chicago in 2012. It’s there the brothers reunited and reaped the rewards of not one, but two Stanley Cups, reaching hockey’s highest achievement in the city they grew up.

“We used to flood the backyard and skate in the backyard,” said Nick Cotsilis. “I think my family is more into it, like my mom, my dad passed away, but obviously when he was alive… he’s the reason why we were hockey fans, he’s the reason we were Blackhawks fans. He loved hockey more than anything and so we just took it upon it and just went with it.”

Chris and Nick Cotsilis made a long journey dating back decades ago to now making ice in Las Vegas for the Vegas Golden Knights.(Chris and Nick Cotsilis)

Once NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced there would be an expansion coming to the league in the form of Vegas, its Nick who urged his younger brother to make the move back to the desert and carve out his own piece of ice. Fast forward a couple years, Chris continues the family legacy, adding another Stanley Cup in the process.

“As soon as Vegas lost in Florida, I booked my ticket and somehow, he got us tickets and we got to celebrate the Cup. It was cool to watch him do. There was a lot of pride there for sure,” said Nick Cotsilis.

“He’s got two, I’ve got the three,” said Chris Cotsilis. “Kind of nice having the extra one. It’s always support, you want to see him succeed in their profession and you support one another regardless.”

“It all comes back to growing up as a kid, going to hockey games, Blackhawks games growing up and you just go down to the glass and you stare at the (Zamboni) as it goes by as kids do here, you’re in awe of this crazy machine and you’re like, “I want to do that.’ You go in awe of admiring it to wanting to do it, to doing it, to being a perfectionist.”


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