In less than two weeks, the Vegas Golden Knights will play their first preseason game in franchise history.
In preparation, some of the NHL expansion team players have started practicing at their new facility near Downtown Summerlin, City National Arena.
These practices are “informal,” meaning that they are optional.
Unlike optional team activities in the NFL, these practices are organized by the players.
As such, defenseman Derek Engelland has found himself playing an important role.
He's lived in Las Vegas for 12 years, and his knowledge of the area is proving handy, as players arrive from all over the world, in hopes of making Southern Nevada their permanent home.
He and players like Riley Smith, who has only been in Las Vegas three weeks, agree that these practices are especially valuable to the brand new team.
"Most teams have a handful of guys that are new, and everyone is new here, so the more we can get used to each other, the better it will be down the road,” said Engelland who played the last three seasons for Calgary.
"It's very important because you have so many new faces, and you know, it'll be important even the first couple of weeks before training camp, just to be able to get to know your teammates and really form that friendship,” said Smith, who played the last two seasons with Florida.
These informal practices run through Wednesday before rookie camp opens on Thursday.