History was made by the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday.
Well, technically, the Vegas Golden Knights didn’t do anything as it was the Henderson Silver Knights who made history by hiring Manny Viveiros as the first Head Coach in franchise history.
The Silver Knights are preparing for their inaugural season in the American Hockey League, and they now have their man at the helm.
It is also a significant moment for the Golden Knights who will no doubt have a lot of dealings with Viveiros given that the Silver Knights will be on their doorstep.
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So, who is Manny Viveiros?
Boasting a 13-year coaching career, Viveiros was most recently the Head Coach of the Spokane Chiefs in the WHL.
He guided the Chiefs to a 41-18-4-1 record in 2019-20, good for fourth overall in the WHL, before the season was ruined because of COVID-19.
Viveiros also led the Swift Current Broncos to the 2018 WHL Championship, being crowned the WHL Coach of the Year for 2017-18 as a result.
In addition to his experience coaching junior hockey, Viveiros was behind the bench for the Edmonton Oilers as an Assistant Coach during the 2018-19 season.
That came after a long stint in Austria as Head Coach of the Klagenfurter AC of the Austrian Erste Bank Eishhockey Liga (EBEL), and a spell as Head Coach of Team Austria at a plethora of international tournaments including the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Viveiros can also boast a lengthy playing career having been drafted by the Edmonton Oilers 106th overall in the 1984 NHL Draft after a glittering junior career with the Prince Albert Raiders, which saw Viveiros rack up 321 points (60 G, 261 A) as a defenseman in 251 career regular season games.
He helped the Raiders to the WHL Championship and the Memorial Cup in 1985, while he still holds the franchise record for the most points and most assists by a defenseman in a single season with 93 assists and 109 points in 1983-84.
Not bad at all.
Viveiros played 29 games in the National Hockey League, all for the Minnesota North Stars, collecting one goal and 11 assists for 12 points before finishing out his playing career in Germany.
Aside from his experience in a number of different hockey cultures, a big selling point for Viveiros was the fact that he holds the same beliefs as the Golden Knights brain trust.
That is defensemen jumping into the rush, stretching the ice and making big offensive contributions, something the Golden Knights have made a real philosophy in the organization.
Shea Theodore is a master of that particular craft and Viveiros will have the likes of Nic Hague and Dylan Coghlan to really turn into offensive defensemen, while Kaedan Korczak is a prospect with a lot of upside.
And Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon made it clear that Viveiros was the perfect man for the job in Henderson:
"“Whether it’s been on the ice, behind the bench or in the front office, Manny Viveiros has been a part of the game at every level. In our search for the Silver Knights Head Coach, we were looking for someone who could not only lead a winning team to the Calder Cup Championship but could set a positive example for our prospects. We’re confident Manny is up for the task and are excited to see his impact on our organization.“Teams are up tempo, they stretch the ice and they play fast. That’s how we want to play; that’s how the best teams in the NHL play. We want our American Hockey League team to play a similar style. It might not be identical each and every night but, in terms of the philosophies, the foundations and the systems, I expect they’ll be very similar.”Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon via nhl.com."
This is the start of a new era for the Henderson Silver Knights who are getting ready for their inaugural season in the AHL and as the Golden Knights’ affiliate, and for Viveiros who replaces previous Head Coach Rocky Thompson.
With the likes of Peyton Krebs and Jack Dugan also likely to be available to the Silver Knights for next season, Viveiros will have a talented roster to win now with in the American Hockey League.
However, it is clear that Manny Viveiros has been hired to teach the next generation how to play the Vegas Golden Knights brand of hockey and that will be his biggest mission in Henderson with the Silver Knights.