Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer reacts to Fleury trade, being named to Hockey Canada staff
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - It’s been a summer of change for the Golden Knights as the franchise has said goodbye to some of the most beloved players on the roster, including the likes of Nick Holden, Ryan Reaves, and the original face of the franchise, Marc-Andre Fleury.
Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer said this offseason has once again proved the NHL is as much a game as it is a cruel and cold business.
“I reached out to Marc-Andre about 5 minutes after I heard about the trade and just thanked him for his contributions, how important he was for our group here. One of the Olympic coaches, the head coach, is Jon Cooper and I had conversations with him, they had a mantra during their playoff run that they knew this would be the last time this group was together because of the cap world and the flat cap and COVID. It’s just not realistic that good teams are going to stay together for long-term and tough decisions have to be made and guys have to move on. We’ve lost some really good people from our dressing room, from flower and Reaves and Holden, but that’s the reality of the pro world we’re living in right now. For me you thank those guys for what they did, we had some great wars we went to battle with those guys and they did a hell of a job for us. Flower was our MVP this year, but I’m also excited about the next challenge and the next group and next years team being able to write their own chapter.”
As the Golden Knights enter their fifth season in the National Hockey League, just seven players remain from that inaugural season roster.
“Those initial players, you knew were going to eventually age out and the mantle was going to have to be handed to the next group,” explained DeBoer. “And the next group here is Mark Stone and Shea Theodore, Alex Pietrangelo, Alex Tuch and on and on. What a foundation those guys laid for this organization when they got here, Flower and Reavo and all those guys, I think the world unfortunately doesn’t stand still and as it moves forward that mantle gets handed on to the next group and we’re really comfortable with the group of guys we have here.”
This month DeBoer was named an assistant coach for Hockey Canada ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympic games in Beijing, China. The league has still not decided whether or not players and coaches will be allowed to participate, due to the timing of the games occurring during the 2021-22 regular season.
“Olympic Games is the top of the mountain for representing your country in tournaments and things. I’ve done World Championships and World Juniors and stuff like that, but when you get a call to represent your country at the Olympics that’s the ultimate, from a representing your country nationally, point of view. It would be the equivalent of going to a Stanley Cup Final with the Vegas Golden Knights which is obviously on our checklist here. When I got the call, I started working with Team Canada, it was 25 years ago I started with them. Every time they’ve called I’ve always told myself I’m going to jump at the opportunity, it’s a chance to work with some of the best coaches in the league. Pick their brains and work with the best hockey players in the world, so it’s a win-win.”
The Golden Knights training camp begins September 22, with their first preseason game set for September 26 against the San Jose Sharks.
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