For forward Mason Morelli, it’s hard to top the season he had last year. He put up a career-best 41 points (12G, 29A) in 72 regular season games with the Hershey Bears and then scored an additional 13 (5G, 8A) on the team’s way to a Calder Cup championship.
Luckily for Silver Knights fans, Morelli is already well on his way to another extraordinary season here in Henderson. In the team’s first four games of the season, he’s already tallied six points (2G, 4A). But when asked about his early-season success, Morelli is quick to turn attention away from himself and towards his teammates.
“All the guys in this locker room are really awesome guys, and they’ve been very welcoming,” he said. “It starts with our captain, [Jake Bischoff], he’s a great leader. And [Byron Froese] and [Adam Cracknell], too, there’s a lot of great leaders on this team. Everyone’s been really good, I think we have a really good group, and we’ll build even more chemistry throughout the year.”
That growing chemistry – as well as home ice advantage – is already paying dividends. Three of Morelli’s points came against the San Jose Barracuda in the Knights’ home opener, earning him third star of the night.
“I try and play a pretty simple and hard game,” Morelli continued. “Try and bring some energy for the guys. I want to play smart, simple, and chip in to wins any way I can. And the fans were wild, the fans were great, so I give them a lot of credit. They were like a sixth man out there for us.”
Another way that the Vegas Valley fans have stood out to Morelli: their embrace of the Golden Knights’ championship summer. The overwhelming support of the entire city, seen on everything from jerseys to license plates, has completely won him over.
“It’s all hockey all the time out here. I love it,” he said.
Morelli is no stranger to championships, having spent his own day with the Calder Cup last summer – and he’s hoping to be a part of bringing another one to the Valley, especially with the Silver Knights’ season off to a 4-0-0 start.
“It was really fun. I brought it back home to North Dakota, I was surrounded by a lot of family and friends. Brought it to a couple of places. There were a lot of people supporting me in the playoffs, so I brought it to some close family friends’, some local businesses who were supporting me – restaurants that had some watch parties – so I brought it throughout town and had a couple beverages out of it. It was really great to share that memory with them.”
“And it was cool to play in those big-time games, it gives you experience. I’m hoping to carry that into this year and hoping to have a similarly great year here with all the guys here in Henderson. It’s pretty special.”