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Sports >  National sports

NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights visit area on promotional tour

Calvin Pickard, here with the Colorado Avalanche, makes a save against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, in Buffalo, N.Y. (Jeffrey T. Barnes / ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Calvin Pickard, here with the Colorado Avalanche, makes a save against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, in Buffalo, N.Y. (Jeffrey T. Barnes / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

It’s not often area youths get the chance to skate with an active NHL player. It’s even more rare that an NHL team brings an offseason marketing caravan through the area. Both things happened at Frontier Ice Arena in Coeur d’Alene on Tuesday.

The expansion Vegas Golden Knights – whose broadcast market stretches from northern Arizona north to Idaho, Montana and western Wyoming – made their first stop in CdA on a five-city tour to promote hockey and generate interest in the fledgling franchise. The team will also visit Whitefish, Deer Lodge and Bozeman, Montana and finish in Salt Lake City.

Goalie Calvin Pickard, a three-year NHL veteran who played in 50 games for the Colorado Avalanche last season and played junior hockey in Seattle, skated with area kids during a free skate from 5:45-7 p.m. at the arena and met with fans and signed autographs.

“If anyone had told me last August I’d be in Coeur d’Alene representing an NHL team in Vegas I’d have thought they were crazy,” Pickard said before the event.

But Pickard also realized that he has the chance to be part of something special. “Words can’t describe being part of an expansion team and the chance to be the face of hockey for a generation of new fans.”

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