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For the Las Vegas Valley, there’s only one word on people’s minds: celebration. The Vegas Golden Knights secured not only the city’s first Stanley Cup, but also its first championship in any major North American sport. 

Defenseman Kaedan Korczak likewise has celebration on the brain. The way that the city has embraced the franchise’s ultimate hockey success has awed Golden and Silver Knights players alike. 

“It’s been crazy. You go anywhere, even just to get groceries or go out to eat, and everywhere is showing reruns of the games, or highlights, or interviews. Something is always on,” he said. 

“And everyone is always talking about the team and how much winning the Cup means to them. The city went crazy celebrating that win, it’s awesome to have been a part of that.” 

But from the perspective of a player, he associates a few additional words with the Knights’ successful playoff run: growth, support, and teamwork. 

“Obviously they had the best possible run. So just being a part of that is really cool, it’s fun to get to celebrate,” said Korczak. 

“But it’s also about learning little things: how they handle themselves, day in and day out. They achieved the biggest prize in the sport, so just seeing how they prepared themselves [to accomplish that] was cool.” 

Korczak, who played 50 games for the Silver Knights this year, finished his AHL season with 14 points (4G, 10A). But he also took strides in developing his game at the NHL level, playing in 10 of the Golden Knights’ regular season games. Korczak tallied two points and averaged just shy of 17:30 of ice time a game. 

His approach to the playoffs, where he served as an extra defenseman, wasn’t just about staying game-ready. It was also an opportunity for Korczak to learn from the defensemen on the best team in hockey, made all the better by the intense playoff atmosphere. 

“I always like to watch all the d-men and take things out of everybody’s game. Petro is a pretty big part of the team, but so is Theo, so is Nabber,” he said. 

“Guys that have been here since the start, so just watching how they conduct themselves, the parts of their game. Learning is the biggest thing.” 

Korczak acknowledged that every player on the NHL roster made it easy for the Knights’ callups and extra skaters to get into that growth mindset for the playoffs. 

Players, coaches, and AHL GM Tim Speltz stated earlier this year that “it took every single [regular season] point and every single win that they got” to put the Golden Knights in the best possible position for playoff success. 

“It’s not just the guys that played during the Final that helped to win the Cup, it’s everybody that played throughout the whole season. It’s Miro, Pickle, Pavs [Daniil Miromanov, Brayden Pachal, and Pavel Dorofeyev] – all of the guys that played,” added Korczak. 

“As long as we as a whole team can help in any way possible, it’s the most important thing to us as players. It was just super special. Seeing everything behind the scenes and being around the guys during their run was something I’ll cherish forever.” 

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