Brad Hunt with the Las Vegas Golden Knights paid a visit to Pitt Meadows on Wednesday to coach a hockey camp. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Brad Hunt with the Las Vegas Golden Knights paid a visit to Pitt Meadows on Wednesday to coach a hockey camp. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Local NHL star Brad Hunt coaches hockey camp in Pitt Meadows

The Las Vegas Golden Knight was a guest coach at PH Development hockey camp

A Golden Knight paid a visit to Pitt Meadows on Wednesday as a guest coach at a peewee hockey camp.

Brad Hunt, who went all the way to the Stanley Cup finals with the Las Vegas Golden Knights last year, took part in the PH Development camp, run by his friend Ben Payne, at Pitt Meadows Arena, helping players hone their skills.

Hunt, a Maple Ridge native, was signed as a free agent by the Las Vegas Knights on July 1, 2017, the team’s inaugural season in the National Hockey League.

Not only is the team the first major professional sports franchise to be based in Las Vegas, it is also the first NHL expansion team since 2000.

The Knights, lead by head coach Gerard Gallant, were the first team since the Edmonton Oilers and the Hartford Whalers in the 1979-80 season to make the playoffs in their inaugural season in the NHL.

On March 31, the Knights secured the Pacific Division title becoming the first true expansion team in all of the four major professional sports leagues in Canada and the United States to win its division in its inaugural season.

And the winning didn’t stop there.

The franchise won its first playoff game in a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on April 11 and earned their first playoff sweep beating the Kings in four games straight becoming the first team in NHL history to sweep their first playoff series in their inaugural season.

Then the Knights knocked out the San Jose Sharks four games to two making them the third team in NHL history to win multiple playoff series in their inaugural season. They won the Western Conference Finals in five games against the Winnipeg Jets becoming the third NHL team to advance to the Stanley Cup finals in its inaugural season after the Toronto Arenas in 1918 and the St. Louis Blues in 1968.

The Knights would eventually lose the Stanley Cup finals to the Washington Capitals in five games.

“It was just kind of whirlwind,” said Hunt about the 2017-18 NHL season after the camp on Wednesday.

“We had that really good winning streak at the start of the season and then it just kind of kept going from there. Everyone was just having so much fun and I think that was big part of the success,” said Hunt, who played 45 regular season games with the Golden Knights, although none during the playoff run, scoring three goals and adding 15 assists.

“It was a lot of fun and it was a really special season and it was a really special group, too. And it’s always fun to come back to Maple Ridge and to see all the faces and how much fun everyone had with the run as well,” he said.

Hunt still considers Maple Ridge his home and loves coming back to give back to the community.

“This is home. This will always be home. I love it here and have a lot of close friends here and all my family’s from here, so this will always be home and it’s a great place to come back to,” he added.

“It’s always great to give back and it’s all about the kids having fun and that’s a big part of what hockey is, it’s supposed to be fun.”

Hunt plans to return to Vegas for one more year.

“Hopefully, we can do it all over again.”

 

Local NHL star Brad Hunt coaches hockey camp in Pitt Meadows

Brad Hunt with the Las Vegas Golden Knights paid a visit to Pitt Meadows on Wednesday to coach a hockey camp. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Brad Hunt with the Las Vegas Golden Knights paid a visit to Pitt Meadows on Wednesday to coach a hockey camp. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Brad Hunt with the Las Vegas Golden Knights paid a visit to Pitt Meadows on Wednesday to coach a hockey camp. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Brad Hunt with the Las Vegas Golden Knights paid a visit to Pitt Meadows on Wednesday to coach a hockey camp. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Local NHL star Brad Hunt coaches hockey camp in Pitt Meadows

Local NHL star Brad Hunt coaches hockey camp in Pitt Meadows

Local NHL star Brad Hunt coaches hockey camp in Pitt Meadows

Local NHL star Brad Hunt coaches hockey camp in Pitt Meadows

Local NHL star Brad Hunt coaches hockey camp in Pitt Meadows

Local NHL star Brad Hunt coaches hockey camp in Pitt Meadows