Raiders captain headed to training camp with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves
Friday was a complete whirlwind for Brayden Pachal.
The Prince Albert Raiders captain started off the day by inking an entry-level contract with NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and then made his way to the Art Hauser Centre to take part in the team’s banner raising ceremonies for their 2018-19 Ed Chynoweth Cup winning campaign.
“I can’t thank the Golden Knights enough for letting me come up here and be a part of this special moment after I signed my contract this morning,” Pachal said. “Prince Albert’s been my home for the last three years and it’s a place that I’ll never forget, especially with all of the hard work our team has put in over the last couple of years.
“It was important for Brayden to be here for this,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid added. “It’s his last time in this building as a Raider, which is a bit sad as you get attached to these guys, but he’s moving on to better things.”
After being acquired from the Victoria Royals in January 2017, the Estevan product put up 89 points in 164 regular season games on the Raiders blueline.
He also had 12 points in 30 playoff contests over the last two years and was named team captain prior to the start of last season.
Although he wasn’t drafted by a NHL club in all three years that he was eligible, Pachal did have a chance to attend development camps with the Ottawa Senators and the Calgary Flames in 2017 and 2018.
He was also an invite to the Flames rookie camp last fall, but did not land a pro contract.
“You just have to keep working hard and never give up on yourself,” Pachal said.
“During last season, one of the things that we talked about was how team success would lead to individual success. I think you’ve seen that over the last couple of weeks with the number of guys that were at NHL camps.”
The 20-year-old earned a spot at the Golden Knights rookie camp following a strong showing at their development camp this summer.
He impressed again during a prospect tournament in Irvine, Calif. earlier this month and got an invite to the Golden Knights training camp, which set the stage for Friday’s contract signing.
“Going from the development camp to the rookie camp is a big jump and the same is true when you go the main camp and you are with all of the veterans,” Pachal said.
“The nice thing about Vegas is that the organization is so welcoming to everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a first round pick or an undrafted guy like myself. The way that they treat people really made me feel comfortable and I think it showed in my on-ice play.”
Before Pachal made the trek back south of the border to take part in the training camp for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, he got his first taste of what life outside of the WHL will be like.
“It was really weird to be watching a Raiders and Blades game,” Pachal said.
“I was starting to get fired up just sitting in the stands. This rivalry is definitely going to stick with me forever.”