Coming Tomorrow – Just In Time for Christmas – Shaggy the Golden One


Just in Time for Christmas – Shaggy the Golden One

By Lee Samuels and Mary Kate Zurfluh

On Thanksgiving Eve we will release our Christmas story – Just in Time for Christmas – Shaggy, the Golden One. Coach Rob and his AAA Las Vegas team must play an eliminator game against the Montana Rams on Big Mountain, Montana – the winner goes to the annual Vancouver International Tournament in Richmond, BC.  To get to the game the Vegas team bus must navigate on a snowy Bozeman Pass to take on Shaggy – The Golden One – and his Montana team which has not lost a home game in years.  Writing is underway by Lee and daughter Mary Kate Zurfluh.  Greg Yochum is our GM, John McNicholas will be on the bench and the great Tommy Ricketts will size up the Montana team for coach Rob on game week.  Skitters, a Vegas baby rink cat, somehow gets to the game and wanders over to the wrong bench on game night. Don’t try to buy a ticket – the 3,200 seat arena in Big Mountain, Montana is already sold out.

Special appearance by real-life hockey mom Kim Gililland of Billings, Montana

“I watched Shaggy play hockey while he was growing up. He could always score goals. But he got bigger and stronger and now when he plays over at the Bozeman Ice Arena there is a golden light from above the arena which tracks him while he skates on the ice during games. That is why he is called the Golden One. The L.A. teams including the Kings don’t come anymore to Big Mountain in Montana. Neither do the top teams from Idaho or Wyoming,” said Kim Gililland. “Vegas will be here because they have to be here.”


Just in Time for Christmas – Shaggy The Golden One 

Shaggy – created by Lee Samuels

The Thompson Twins – enforcers and protectors of Shaggy when he is on the ice  – created by Lee Samuels

Peppers the Zamboni driver – created by Jay Zurfluh

Vegas Hockey game reporter – Bethany Drysdale – herself

Skitters, baby rink cat – created by Jay Zurfluh

Coach Rob, Greg Yochum, John McNicholas, Steve Allen, Kim Gililland and mentions of Tommy Ricketts, Gramps – grandfather of Anthony Greener  – and Kendell Galor, Dave Francis of Las Vegas playing as themselves in this holiday story


Lee is the writer of previous holiday stories here including

The Kid Who Never Scored a Goal

Lee and Mary Kate are the authors of..

Miracle at the SoBe Ice Arena

Just in Time for Christmas The Unstoppable Johnnie Gold — #1 most-read Christmas Story

Mary Kate is the author of children’s books including…

Flash The Cat



Top 5 Goal Scorers

9 – Brenden Fehlig, NA3HL College Station Spirit – Texas

9 – Ash Printzen, AAA Detroit Honeybaked girls 19u

7 – Bryce Gould, NA3HL Butte Cobras

7 – Gage Quinney, AHL Chicago Wolves

6 – Zach Pochiro, ECHL Allen Americans


Down 4 Goals Coach Rob Pallin’s HC TWK Innsbruck Rallies and Beats 1st-Place Bolzano 8-5 in Shocker

Special to Vegas Hockey

Bolzano, Italy – On the road, down 4 goals to #1 Bolanzo, it looked awful. But Las Vegas coach Rob Pallin and his TWK HC Innsbruck team of Austria rallied and beat Bolanzo 8-5 in a key Austrian League game.

“After going down 4 goals we called timeout at two minutes into the second period,” Pallin said today. “We made some changes, switched our goalie, and outscored them 8-1 the rest of the game. We are now 9 wins, 4 losses, 1 tie in our last 14 games. Currently in 6th place in the league but climbing.”

2 goals by Andrew Yogan of Miami  – NHL NY Rangers 4th round draft pick

1 goal by Nick Ross of Alberta – NHL Phoenix 1st round draft pick

2 goals by John Lammers of BC – NHL Dallas Stars 3rd round draft pick


For The Love of Hockey – What Thanksgiving Day Means to Me – By Bethany Drysdale



By Bethany Drysdale 

Vegas Hockey

Thanksgiving morning will mark our 7th Turkey Day in Las Vegas. I cannot believe how much life has changed in these past 7 years. We are now a family of four, with four small dogs. Each new year has brought new adventures, blessings and friendships. I am thankful for the new friends we have made in the hockey community. Our summer was a very difficult time, but through the positive interactions of the UNLV hockey team, a new positive path has presented itself. For that I am truly humbled and grateful to each person who has brought smiles into our lives.

This year, Lucas (age 5) and I will be running a Turkey Trot at 8 am Thursday morning. A portion of the proceeds from the race will go to fund Alzheimer’s Research and Caregiver Support! I was raised to understand that giving to others is far more important than receiving gifts. I have been blessed with so many good things in my life, and I love sharing what I have with others.

My husband, Marcus will be donning the chef’s apron and cooking a turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, yams, and stuffing. This is his favorite meal, so he gives me the day off from cooking, which I gladly accept. Every year, we invite Airman from my husband’s unit to come over and eat with us, but no one ever comes. This year we have extended the invitation to our hockey family, in the hopes of sharing the afternoon with the people who make our life better. Blake is especially looking forward to having “his” best friends stop by for dinner. He truly has bonded with several of the Rebels players, and as busy as they are, they make time to say hello to a little boy. We have confirmed that our special friend Kat, whom we have adopted as family, will be coming over to eat with us on Thursday.

Since the rinks are closed Thanksgiving Day, we will be watching sports on television. Friday we have plans to take the boys out on the ice to family skate. Any chance we can get to be on the ice with the kids is always a good day. It is difficult for me to skate like I used to do, because of c-spine injury. But I don’t let that stop me from getting out there and interacting with my kids.

I want to say a special thank you to Mr. Lee Samuels who has made me part of this wonderful group of friends and readers on This has been an opportunity of a lifetime and I am deeply emotional about how much support and kindness has been shown to me through this friendship. God bless you all and try not to eat too much.


How Las Vegas Players, Coaches and VPs Will be Celebrating Thanksgiving Day

How Las Vegas players, coaches and VPs will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day

Hockey dad Steve Allen of Las Vegas. His son Jason is the only skater from Las Vegas who played tier ice hockey with three AAA teams – AAA LA Kings, AAA San Diego Gulls and AAA Las Vegas Rebels.  Jason was also a tremendous roller hockey player.

“We are working on Thanksgiving Day but after work we will head to Jason’s place for turkey, football on television with him and family – his wife Gina, daughters Gianella, Chloe, Emma and son Roman. Just want everyone to know those were very impressive wins for UNLV in Chicago.”

Erik Atchison of Las Vegas with  WHL Spokane Chiefs – first season with them

Hockey dad Kevin Atchison said “Erik will be spending Thanksgiving with his billet family, the Yamamotos, parents of Kailer Yamamoto who is a 1st round draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers. Our son Fuzzy and the Las Vegas Jr Golden Knights PeeWee AA’s will be playing in the first annual Thanksgiving Day Tournament at City National Arena and will take on teams from California, Idaho and Utah.”

Vito Carlo of Las Vegas – playing with NA3HL Atlanta Capitals this season

“For Thanksgiving we will be spending it with my hockey roomate for three seasons and his family in Norcross, Georgia. Will not be able to make it to Las Vegas for my Mom’s amazing dinner unfortunately. We have games the day after against Louisiana Drillers. We want to tell everyone in Las Vegas to have a great Thanksgiving Day.”

Arturo Castro, President and Director of Operations, UNLV Rebels

“For the past 10 years or so we have gone to the Arthur McCants Manor in the morning to arrange a little party for elderly folks who live there but do not have family members who come visit them. My mother coordinates a good group of friends and family who help bring everything from food, drinks and gifts for all. After that we return home and my family prepares an awesome Thanksgiving Day dinner. We usually eat around 7 or 8 pm. We try to spend the entire day together.”

Hockey mom Pat Cichy whose goal-scoring hockey son Michael Cichy played junior hockey for years and is now with the Vegas Jesters.

“We work at Levi’s Distribution Center and Michael works at Levi’s Premium Outlet Mall South. We will have some turkey together for sure.”

Richie Crossley, captain of the Vegas Jesters and years ago was voted on Vegas Hockey as being on the best defensive pair ever with Devin Lane and the AA Las Vegas Ice Cats 18u

“We are working at City National Arena here in Las Vegas until 4 pm on Thanksgiving Day. Then we plan to go to my parents house and have Thanksgiving dinner there – will relax and hang out with them.”

Goalie Luke Fundator, AAA Arizona Bobcats 16u

Hockey dad Doug says “…Luke is coming home to Las Vegas for a few days. This is our first Thanksgiving in a long while that we are home as a family and not on the road. He wants to see his Vegas Jr Golden Knights buddies play in the Silver Stick Tournament this week and on Friday would like to watch the (NHL) Vegas Golden Knights against the Calgary Flames. So Luke will be hockey focused as always.”

Anthony Greener, Head Coach, UNLV Rebels. His #96 Rebels jersey has been retired and is framed and hung with care on the South rink wall at the SoBe Ice Arena.

“We will all be going to my grandmas house and celebrate there – watch football and hang out. Just what we need. Hope all in Las Vegas will be having a good one.”

Matt Edlin, coach, AA Vegas Jr Golden Knights mite team

“We will be celebrating at my sister’s house. Our two Mite 2010 birth year teams are playing in a Thanksgiving Jamboree at the City National Arena in Las Vegas. We are really excited and looking forward to these games. Have a nice Thanksgiving Day to all!”

Connor Haney – Las Vegas defenseman who was a great captain with the WSHL Seattle Totems. He directed great powerplays from the point – true team leader.

Hockey mom Lori says “Connor is coming in on Wednesday from his home in San Clemente to have dinner with his father and me. Connor’s sister Chloe lives in Reno and Dakotah is in Phoenix. Traditional turkey dinner Thursday and Connor may go to VGK game Friday.”


Zee Khan, GM, UNLV Rebels

“We will be spending Thanksgiving at home in Las Vegas with my mom and dad, my wife Jens family is coming to join us at our new house — her Mom, Dad, sister and four nieces. It is our daughter Olivia’s very first Thanksgiving Day and we cannot wait to spend the day together.”

Aaron Kinslow – years ago Aaron and our hockey son Eddie Samuels were coaches with the WSHL Park City Moose in Utah

“My fiance and I are having her and my family over to the house for dinner. We are now the Goalie Director for the Fargo Freeze Association. Doing some private lessons and we have a goalie camp as well.”

Wally Lacroix, GM of SoBe Ice Arena and head coach of the AA Las Vegas Jr Golden Knights 16u team

“We will be hanging in our neighborhood celebrating all together. Very blessed to have such great neighbors and family. Also, our AA Jr Golden Knights team will be playing in the Silver Sticks Championships at the Las Vegas Ice Center. Anxious to how our young men can do – very young team but working really hard.”

Jamie  O’Leary, head coach AAA Rocky Mountain Roughriders (years ago our son Eddie Samuels played for Jamie with the AAA Vail Avalanche 15u). Jamie’s brother is the famous Teddy O’Leary.

“My wife, eight year old son and our four year old son will be in Tulsa at the BMX Race of Champions – the Nationals. We will be home attending to our u15 AAA hockey team.”

Goal scorer Aidan McNabb of Las Vegas

Aidan said “For Thanksgiving I will be playing junior hockey in Ontario, Canada with the Kirkland Lake Goldminers. We will be on a road trip playing teams from the other division. Up here we have already celebrated our Thanksgiving which we spent with our billet families. I cannot think of a better way to spend Thanksgiving than a hockey road trip.” 

Will ‘Money’ Munson – He and our Eddie Samuels played together years ago with NAHL Billings Jr Bulls in Montana. The Bulls head coach called Munson ‘Money’ because he scored the biggest goals that season. Will is now playing men’s league hockey for his team SNAFU at Riverside IceTown in SoCal.

“Hey everyone in Vegas. Spending Thanksgiving with family at my parents house, having a lot of good turkey.”

Goal scorer Jerrett Overland of Las Vegas with AAA Anaheim Jr Ducks 18u

“Following a 4 game tournament in New Jersey this weekend with our team going 3-1 and scoring 2 goals and 2 assists in 4 games. Then flying home to Vegas for 3 days to celebrate Thanksgiving with the family. While being here working out every day. Then Friday morning at the invite from Wenatchee wild of the BCHL I will be traveling with my family to observe the facility, get a feel of the city, and meet the coaches, and watch some games, as I am starting to make my decision for next year. The trip concludes with a flight back to California as my hockey life returns back to normal. I look forward to this hockey Thanksgiving week!”

Hockey dad Steve Pochiro whose son Zach plays for the ECHL Allen Americans

“We will be celebrating in Salt Lake City. That is where Zach and his team will be playing.

Rob Profitt, GM, NAHL Fairbanks Ice Dogs

“Hello everyone. We are playing Kenai in a three-game series. Our players will celebrate with their families for Thanksgiving, then we are off to the games.”

Hockey mom Charla Ricketts whose hockey son Beau was a massive star for the WSHL Las Vegas Storm and younger son Blade has skated for ice hockey teams here in town.

“Beau will be in Minot for Thanksgiving. He is starting a new job and training with electricians union this week. Blade and I are going to my Mom’s place in Utah. Happy Thanksgiving to all of our hockey friends in Las Vegas.

Nick Robone, coach, UNLV Rebels

“We just had a great weekend in Chicago. As for Thanksgiving I am extremely grateful for all of my family, friends and being able to coach the game I really love. I’ll be out of the country with my girlfriend for Thanksgiving. Going for a much needed vacation.”

Hockey Dad Tony Robone whose son Nick is a coach with the UNLV Rebels and Anthony is with the Henderson Fire Department.

“Since Nick and his girlfriend are heading out of town and Anthony is on duty with the Henderson Fire Department my wife and I are planning to go out to dinner. But everyone will be home for Christmas and we will have dinner for 25 then!”

Jimmy Samuels of Las Vegas – President of undefeated Kansas University ACHA D3 hockey team.

“We are going to Wichita, Kansas, to spend it with Madi and her family. We plan to see the ECHL Wichita Thunder on Wednesday night. Worked with Missouri Mavericks defenseman Nate Widman – a St. Cloud State alumni – and he is now helping our KU team at practices. Our team is 14-0-1 right now and hoping for a (ACHA D3) ranking of #1 to surpass Air Force Academy. We are the only team in the Pacific Division without a loss. We are planning to write a story soon on Vegas Hockey about our journey so far.”

Robbie Silvernail, big goal scorer for UNLV a few years ago 

“Hello to all. We will be spending time with my wife and family on Thanksgiving Day. We still play hockey over at City National Arena on Sundays.”

Adam Stio – Las Vegas hockey exec – GM of Evansville Thunderbolts in Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL)

“We will have a quick trip from Evansville to Greenville, S.C. to spend some time with my grandmother and brother. As far as our team goes we are making trades and upgrading to make things better. Ticket sales are good.”

Gabriel Testa of Las Vegas – with the Wichita Falls Force junior team

Gabriel said he be celebrating the Thanksgiving Day holiday with his teammates and his billet family.

Hockey Dad Pete Trimboli whose hockey sons Mike and Joe were big stars here in town – and outside of town too.

“Hi everyone. We are taking a flight to Dallas as Mike and our daughter Alicia live there. Joe will be flying from LA to Dallas and we will spend Thanksgiving Day together as a family for the first time in 10 years! Happy Thanksgiving to all in Las Vegas.

Scott Zucker, the most famous hockey dad of all-time in Las Vegas – and he is also president of NAHA which governs youth hockey in Nevada

“Our kids will be coming over to our house for Thanksgiving dinner then Natalie will be heading off to Minnesota to see Jason and Carly and spend time with them.”


To contribute here with your Thanksgiving plans send to

How Will You Celebrate Thanksgiving Day

Monday, November 19, 2019

By Lee Samuels

It’s the good time of the year again – Thanksgiving Day week and the big day is on Thursday.

Let us know how you, family, team and coaches will celebrate. Everyone is welcome particularly our Las Vegas players who are away from home with their teams.

Send all all of the good stuff and details to

Our family, which is pretty big, is celebrating at the home of our daughter Mary Kate Zurfluh. She is a great writer of children’s books including Flash the Cat. Her husband Jay has created characters – including Skitters, a baby rink cat who somehow winds up on the wrong bench on game night and Peppers, an off the wall Zamboni driver – for our annual Christmas stories here on Vegas Hockey.

On Thanksgiving Eve we will release our annual holiday story..

Just in Time for Christmas – Shaggy The Golden One

Your Christmas will never be quite the same when you read this one……

When we were in high school we weren’t that good in sports but loved the games. We grew up in Pennsville, New Jersey. We wanted to write when we were in high school. Wes Denman, editor of the weekly Pennsville Progress newspaper, gave me the opportunity to do that. We worked on many other newspapers as well. Which brings us to Bethany Drysdale of Las Vegas. She wanted to write – it is something inside of you which drives you. She sent an email here. She had not written before. But she took her opportunity and is now a star reporter with a unique writing style here on Vegas Hockey. We welcome all first time writers to take the same route – if you want to write send me a note at and you will have a platform to do it right here on this site.

Here is How the UNLV Rebels Won The Gold at Chicago Classic Tournament

Sunday, November 18, 2018

By Bethany Drysdale

Chicago – UNLV skated to a statement victory to claim first place in the Chicago Classic Tournament over the #6 ranked Illini. Ben Giesbrecht started in goal for the second straight game for the Rebels, picking up key saves throughout the night. But it was the Rebel scoring machine that outpaced the Illini with a 6-1 victory at Johnny’s Icehouse East. After a change of rink location due to Zamboni malfunctions yesterday the Rebels looked to score early against the host school in the championship game.

Jared Turcotte had a huge night for the Rebels, creating a turnover in the neutral zone setting up MVP Joe Kaszupski for the first goal of the game. Getting the assist was Pax Malone on the powerplay at 13:01.

The UNLV penalty kill was very effective shutting down any Illini momentum in this game.

Throughout the game the fast and physical game of Turcotte paced the Rebels, scoring the second goal of the game at 10:57 into the second period. Andrew Marshall and Trever Perverzoff were credited with the assists. Trying to get back into the game the Illini skated towards Giesbrecht in the net who had a huge save at 9:56. Winning faceoffs, speed, and the consistency of the Rebel penalty kill kept the Illini out of sync for much of the game. Another power play goal at 6:37 by Marshall put the game at 3-0. Assisted by Chase Torontow the boys kept their foot on the accelerator. From the faceoff the Rebels took the puck right back down the ice where D’Andre John scored 23 seconds later, going for the five-hole, unassisted to put the Rebels up 4-0! The Illini immediately took a timeout to regroup before going into the 2nd intermission.

The fireworks of goals kept coming for the Rebels early in the 3rd period. Scoring their third power power play goal of the night at 12:39, Andrew Marshall was assisted by Cody Williams. Giesbrecht and the Rebel defense did not give up a goal until 12:22 in the 3rd period.  The Rebels rebounded for a 6th and final goal at 4:13 securing the victory. The team gathered at center ice to hoist the 2018 Chicago Classic Championship trophy. This was a much needed boost for the UNLV program going into the winter break. The next game for the Rebels will be at the Oceanside Ice Arena on January 9, 2019 against desert rival Arizona State University.

Sunday Showdown – UNLV Goalie Ben Giesbrecht Awesome – Rebels Blast to 6-1 Win for Chicago Classic Gold Medal

Sunday, November 18, 2018


Score Update

1st Period

UNLV leads 1-0

Joe Kaszupski (5th goal of season) from Jared Turcotte

2nd Period –  UNLV leads 4-0

Jared Turcotte (5th) from Andrew Marshall, Trevor Perverzoff

Andrew Marshall (2nd) from Chase Torontow, Trevor Perverzoff

D’andre John (1st) – unassisted

3rd Period – UNLV wins 6-1

Andrew Marshall (3rd) from Cody Williams

Paxton Malone (8th) from Kameron Fink

UNLV goalie – Ben Giesbrecht


Star reporter Bethany Drysdale will post her game story tonight on Vegas Hockey



Update – Rhode Island 2, Alabama 1 in consolation game


Pre-Game Story

By Lee Samuels

Chicago – Let’s Get it On. The two best teams. Gold is on the line.

UNLV takes on Illinois for the all that matters in the championship game today at the Chicago Classic Tournament inside of Johnny’s IceHouse East.

“Illinois will be the best team we have played all season,” said UNLV Rebels head coach Anthony Greener. “In big games your greatest players step it up and that’s what we’re hoping to see today.”

Greener said goalie Ben Giesbrecht will get the start in net “because Bennie played so well yesterday.”

Giesbrecht, 21, is from Vancouver and is listed at 6’1, 220. He played in 10 playoff games as a top goalie for AJHL Olds Grizzlys in junior hockey. This is Big Ben’s second season with UNLV.

Greener added “in games like this messages and game plans are short and sweet.

“Stay disciplined.

“Play our game. 

“This is a huge opportunity for this group of UNLV players to play in their first championship game,” Greener said.

Game time here is 3 pm. This is the final UNLV game for the first semester of play. The Rebels are 10-4-0 going in today.

Go to the UNLV Rebels hockey twitter feed for a link to live game video.


Per Elite Hockey which tracks players statistically UNLV Rebels captain Cody Williams has 97 career goals. Cody is a senior.


After the game star reporter Bethany Drysdale of Vegas Hockey will file her complete game report.


The gold medal game today has been moved to Johnny’s IceHouse East because of a Zamboni breakdown on the West rink during the UNLV game yesterday….Alabama vs Rhode Island consolation game here at noon local time.