Bill Foley is bringing his new NHL franchise to his part-time home of Whitefish.
The owner of the Las Vegas Golden Knights is sending his new franchise on a road trip through Idaho, Montana and Utah, which are within the team’s television distribution territory.
As part of the road trip, players are touring towns and leading hockey clinics, open skates and meet-and-greets with local hockey fans of all ages.
The players, Jake Bischoff and Alex Tuch, will appear in Whitefish on Wednesday, Aug. 16 at Stumptown Ice Den. The free clinic and open skate is from 6-7:30 p.m.
Tuch is a forward chosen 18th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and Bischoff is a defenseman who was a standout at the University of Minnesota.
Participants are encouraged to bring their own hockey equipment and will also be able to rent equipment at Stumptown Ice Den.
The road trip will begin in Coeur d’Alene on Aug. 15. After Whitefish, the tour will continue to Bozeman, Aug. 17, with a street hockey clinic at Hayne Pavilion from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. with defenseman Nate Schmidt. The road trip will conclude Aug. 19 in Salt Lake City.
The Golden Knights games will be televised through a partnership with AT&T SportsNet across the states of Nevada, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah and select areas of Arizona and California.
Foley and his family and the Maloof family established the Vegas Golden Knights a year ago, and the franchise recently organized its first roster in preparation of its inaugural season this fall. The Knights’ first preseason game is Sept. 17.
Foley developed much of the plans from his office in Whitefish, where he spends several months out of the year. While organizing the franchise, he elicited the help of Murray Craven, a former NHL standout and full-time Whitefish resident. Craven is now an executive with the franchise.
Foley, who owns a large home on Whitefish Lake, has a prominent business profile in Northwest Montana. He is the majority owner of Winter Sports Inc., the corporation that owns and operates Whitefish Mountain Resort. He owns Glacier Restaurant Group, the largest restaurant company in the state with a new headquarters being built in Whitefish. The restaurant group, formed in 2007, includes MacKenzie River Pizza, Craggy Range Bar & Grill, Ciao Mambo, Latitude 48, and now Max & Erma’s, a Midwest chain that was acquired earlier this year with 70 locations and roughly 1,700 employees. Foley also owns Glacier Jet Center, the large facility at Glacier Park International Airport that provides space, maintenance and other services for private aircraft, as well as charter flights.
Outside of the Flathead Valley, he also owns the Rock Creek Cattle Company, a 30,000-acre working cattle ranch with a private golf course.