For hockey fans, there is no better time of the year than April through May. It is hockey playoff time and Stanley Cup finals time. And if your team is part of all that, then it is even better. Sage Sammons did not start out a hockey fan, but in his high school years, his love of the game took hold.
The passion for the game grew when he and his buddies would drive from Cut Bank to Calgary to watch the Calgary Flames play the game on their home ice.
“Growing up in Cut Bank, I didn’t have a big introduction to hockey. But as I got older and found a way to get to Calgary and watch their professional hockey team, I discovered I really liked the game,” Sage admitted.
Following graduation from Cut Bank High School in 2007, Sage headed to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). While going to school there, he played with a minor league hockey team and his love of the game grew even greater.
When Las Vegas became home to a hockey expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights, for the 2017-18 season, Sage was living in Las Vegas, working for UNLV as their Director of News Media.
He had been working for UNLV for six years and decided he would see if the Golden Knights would take a look at him as their Director of Communications. They liked him. He liked them and loved the game of hockey. It was a perfect match and both scored a win when Sage went to work for them in May of 2017.
“My time at UNLV really launched my career with the Golden Knights,” he said. “As the Director of Communications with a new expansion team, I had the opportunity to set up a business model and be a part of everything this new team was doing from the ground up. And even better than all that, I got to be part of this team’s amazing success in their first year in the league.”
Most expansion teams, whether in hockey, football, baseball or basketball, do not usually find success in their first or even second year in their league. But the Vegas Golden Knights were different and they were amazing in their very first year.
“The first year in the league, the Golden Knights not only made it to the playoffs, but we made it to the Stanley Cup finals. We won the first game in the finals and unfortunately, lost the next four. But nevertheless, we made it to the finals. Everyone thought we were going to be so bad, but this group of guys is so different and incredible,” Sage shared. “That year built the foundation for this team.”
Their second year in the league, the 2018-19 season, the Vegas Golden Knights once again made it to the playoffs. They went seven games in the playoffs and then lost in game seven, in overtime, to the San Jose Sharks. It was a tough loss, but another building year for this young team and now as Sage said, “They are hungry for next year.”
As the Director of Communications for the Vegas Golden Knights, Sage is responsible for much of the same things he used to do for UNLV as their Director of News Media. There he managed media requests, got ready for game day, handled press requests and releases, created a media guide and took care of TV analysts requests and issues.
“It was a lot to keep a guy busy at UNLV and it is a lot of the same at the Golden Knights. The fun part of this job is that everything was brand new. My boss is from the Boston Bruins hockey team and he has been super supportive and helped me lay the foundation for this job and helped me get everything going. It is a great job, kind of a dream job for me.”
Not only did Sage start out a new career with the Golden Knights in 2017, but he and Nicole, his college sweetheart, were married in 2017 as well.
“She really wasn’t a hockey fan in the beginning. But now, she is a hockey fanatic. She fell head over heels in love with this game and the guys on the team. She is hooked,” Sage said.
That is kind of the way hockey works, it hooks you from the first face-off.
Now a Las Vegas resident, this Cut Bank High School grad, is finding a place in the big leagues, the National Hockey League, as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights.
And his love for hockey? Well, it is at “full strength.”