Forward Connor Ford is looking forward to attending Vegas Golden Knights rookie camp, having secured an invitation ahead of his first full professional season. Camp opens on September 14, with first on-ice practice taking place the next day at City National Arena and the 2022 Rookie Faceoff Tournament in San Jose to follow.
For Ford, the start of rookie camp – and therefore, the hockey season – can’t come soon enough. After spending the summer in the Henderson training, he’s excited to show fans what he can do.
“Getting bigger and stronger was a focal point of the summer,” said Ford, who appeared in 11 games with the Silver Knights after joining the team on a professional tryout last spring. “The pro game requires a bigger frame. Working with [Silver Knights Strength and Conditioning Coach] Jeff Conkle has been really important in putting on mass while retaining speed and endurance.”
There is plenty of on-ice success for Ford to build on this upcoming season. At the end of last year, Ford notched his first professional goal. He looks to build on that in 2022-23.
“It felt good to get that, going into this season. Scoring a goal in the American Hockey League is pretty cool. It’s something that not a lot of people get to do,” Ford said.
He’ll also be looking to continue his strong contributions to the team on the defensive side of the ice. Named NCHC Best Defensive Forward in 2022 at the University of North Dakota, Ford has earned commendation for the strength of his two-way game. That skillset held true for his 11 games in Henderson.
Regardless of which end of the ice he plays, Ford is thinking foremost about his work ethic. With the pressure of the first professional goal off of his shoulders, he’s able to focus on working hard and playing his best hockey.
During his partial season last year with the Silver Knights, he embraced becoming part of the Henderson community. The fans are eager to show their support – attending games, sporting sweaters, and outfitting everything from their pets to their cars in Silver Knights merchandise. Ford is equally eager to tell them how appreciated it is.
“I’ve enjoyed how the Henderson fans really embrace the Silver Knights. It’s their town, it’s their team,” he said.
Ford knows how important it is to capture that spark for collective passion in a hockey town. Growing up in Pittsburgh and witnessing the turnaround of the Penguins organization in the 2000s, as well as watching players like Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby, was central to his hockey career path.
Now, he hopes to help spark a similar passion among fans in the Henderson-Las Vegas area.
“Obviously it’s a newer team, so to be a part of these early years and really grow the fanbase and community connection is really special to me,” said Ford.
Ford has also loved getting to experience how far the Knights community extends beyond Clark County. This summer, he joined the Vegas Golden Knights for a stop in Boise on the annual VGK Road Trip, reaching out to the wider Knights fanbase. The road trip, which covers parts of California, Idaho, Montana, and Utah, was a chance for the players to connect with fans of the team beyond Nevada’s borders – especially kids who might aspire to play the game.
“It was a blast to have that opportunity,” Ford said. “It was a great clinic that they put on, first class. I got to be something that the kids were excited to see. I was really grateful to be involved in that.”
But ahead of rookie camp, Ford reiterates that the most important thing on his mind is getting to be a part of the Knights franchise.
“These guys have a great leadership group in place. I’m here to supplement that and be a part of that. I’m excited to be called upon and to get to attend, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Silver Knights fans can follow Ford and his teammates throughout rookie camp on VGK and HSK socials: @HSKnights and @GoldenKnights on twitter and @hendersonsilverknights and @vegasgoldenknights on both Instagram and TikTok. Fans can also tune in to the radio broadcast at FOX Sports Las Vegas or subscribe to HockeyTV.com for the video streaming broadcast.