Wednesday, June 20, 2018

By Lee Samuels

Las Vegas – Scouts and reps from the Boston Jr Rangers, Kingston Voyageurs Hockey Club in Canada, Southern Oregon Spartans, EHL Premier Vermont Lumberjacks, Wichita Jr Thunder, Wisconsin RiverKings were among the dozens who were looking for players for their teams last night at Roy Henderson’s Global Las Vegas over at the Las Vegas Ice Center.

And then there was head coach and GM Steven Kruk of the NA3HL Gillette Wild who skate on home ice in Wyoming.

At the rinkboards Coach K had a notebook, roster of players, a cellular to stay on top of things while doing the big player search for his club.

And what exactly was he looking for?

At least four things in a player.

Kruk’s checklist included:

#1 Skate speed on the ice

#2 Compete level.

#3 Body Language during certain plays

#4 Hockey IQ

He likes to watch skaters in certain situations on the ice – how they move the puck, the method they use, and the quickness it takes to do it.

“I like what I see at Global Las Vegas,” Kruk said. “Lots of good players here.”

This is Kruk’s first season as head coach and GM of the Gillette Wild who are in their 8th season in the league.  Last season coach K was an Associate coach with the NA3HL Metro Jets who are based in Fraser, Michigan.

Since they launched the hockey program the Gillette Wild has had over 40 college commitments, 5 NAHL callups and over $145,000 has been donated to the greater Gillette community in Wyoming.

Las Vegas goal scorer Gage Quinney, who just signed a contract with the NHL Golden Knights of Las Vegas, and his hockey father Ken stopped by at the boards.

“Heading for the treadmill here actually,” said Gage, smiling. “Developmental camp begins real soon with the Golden Knights.”

There was a lot of buzz about Las Vegas defenseman Daniel Ramos. Several coaches mentioned him. Ramos, a smart puck-moving d-man, was the Defenseman of the Year for the Vegas Jr Golden Knights High School Team. Ramos has speed, plays with a grit to his game and stirred a lot of interest here.

Banners on the walls at the Ice Center included Jason Zucker, who skated as a bantam level hockey player here, Kenny Brooks, Brittany Brooks, Ryan Chiasson, Joe Sullivan and Bryce Reddick.  

In the coach’s room Las Vegas referees Justin Grossman and Robbie Silvernail were getting ready to officiate a game.

“Can you please tell Robbie how great I was as a player years ago,” Justin asked.

Grossman was great. He and Sean Darby had a rough edge to their game – they protected all of the great goal scorers on coach Rob Pallin’s AA Las Vegas Mustangs 18u 2001-02 team which was the first from Las Vegas to play in the U.S. Nationals.

And Robbie Silvernail was one of the great goal scorers for the UNLV Rebels.