Looking back at Reid Duke

Reid Duke was the first player ever signed with the Vegas Golden Knights. Whatever happened to the signing?
Vegas Strong Benefit Concert - Red Carpet
Vegas Strong Benefit Concert - Red Carpet / Gabe Ginsberg/GettyImages

Everyone loves a little bit of trivia. Whether it's questions about the only undefeated NFL team in history (1972 Dolphins) or the first player selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2017 Expansion Draft (Calvin Pickard), it makes for fun trivia nights at the local bar. But there's one player forgotten in Golden Knights history that diehards might remember: Reid Duke.

Duke was the first player ever signed to a contract with the organization. After signing, he was invited to Vegas's developmental camp for a chance to further his hockey ambitions. The center never joined the big leagues, though. The closest he got to the NHL was at the AHL level with the Henderson Silver Knights and Chicago Wolves. Here, he spent five seasons in the league, playing 159 games and scoring 25 goals and 24 assists.

It's disheartening because he was a promising prospect who did well in the WHL. He played for the Brandon Wheat Kings and Lethbridge Hurricanes for six seasons, scoring 115 goals and 139 assists. It's crushing to see some players not make it to the NHL level in their lifetime, especially after being the first player signed in a franchise's history.

So what exactly happened to the first player signed to a contract for the Golden Knights? Was he never touched and forgotten for the rest of eternity? Is he still pursuing his hockey dreams elsewhere? His whereabouts seem lost among Vegas hockey fans, for he's no longer in the North American realm. Here's what's happening with Reid Duke.

Reid Duke has found life after the Vegas Golden Knights and NHL aspirations

Yes, the center is alive and well, with his last team being Starbull Rosenheim. In 2023-24, he scored 23 goals and 20 assists in 41 games for the DEL2 team. The team finished with 73 points in the league, finishing 11th and being spared relegation. DEL2 is the second-highest level of play in Germany's ice hockey scene.

Reid Duke has also spent some time in Slovakia, playing for HK Nitra and HC Slovan Bratislava. Here, he scored two goals and three assists in 16 games for HK Nitra in 2022-23. In that same season, he scored four assists in 14 games with HC Slovan Bratislava. Now, there's this.

Rumor has it he might be heading over to Cardiff to play for the Devils (not from New Jersey) next season. The Cardiff Devils are in the British Elite Ice Hockey League, a far cry from the NHL and the Vegas Golden Knights. Still, it's nice to see Reid Duke still pursuing his hockey passion globally, whether he lands in Wales or elsewhere. After all, traveling is the essence of life.