By Erika Norton, WPAOG Senior Multimedia Journalist
NHL Vegas Golden Knights owner and West Point graduate Bill Foley ’67 fulfilled a bucket list wish and brought the team, along with the prestigious Stanley Cup trophy, to his Rockbound Highland Home this week.
Foley, a 2016 Distinguished Graduate Awardee, and the team were treated to a taste of the West Point experience on January 24, starting at Tate Rink inside the Holleder Center, where they met with 61st West Point Superintendent LTG Steve Gilland ’90, West Point Men’s Hockey Head Coach Brian Riley, and other members of the USMA leadership team. Gilland presented a gift to Foley and the team, and took photos with the iconic Stanley Cup on center ice.
A highlight of the day occurred during lunch at the Cadet Mess Hall, when Phil Pritchard, Keeper of the Cup, unveiled the Stanley Cup on the poop deck, allowing Vegas forward and team captain Mark Stone to lift it as Foley addressed a rapturous Corps. Both the Vegas and Army West Point hockey teams shared lunch and took a group photo with the storied trophy. The Corps was extremely grateful to Foley and the team for spending time with them and creating lasting memories at West Point.
The Golden Knights also got to explore the West Point Simulation Center (Sim Center), where cadets use a full spectrum of technology-based simulation training programs to enhance training and research in the areas of marksmanship, synthetic mounted maneuver, eSports, accelerated human cognitive decision-making, and mission command planning and communications.
Coach Riley shared with the Golden Knights his experience as a coach at the Academy and what a special place West Point is for developing leaders of character both on and off the ice.
“We want to thank Mr. Foley for making it possible for your team to come here,” Riley said. “You have no idea the impact that had on our players and the cadets in the Mess Hall. Sometimes this can be a gray place, but you guys brought some sunshine today.”
The team and the cup made their way to Trophy Point, where another trophy, the Commander-in-Chief trophy, was displayed for more historic photos with Foley and the team.
Foley is an Honorary West Point Ready Campaign Cabinet member, and both Foley and his wife Carol are among the top five donors to West Point and members of the Sylvanus Thayer Lifetime Giving Society. Notably, Foleys’ philanthropy in support of Army West Point Athletics has revolutionized facilities for our cadet-athletes with the Foley Indoor Athletic Complex and the Foley-Enners-Nathe Lacrosse Center, named in memory of classmates Ray Enners ’67 and Michael Nathe ’67. Most recently, the Foleys helped fund the Michie Stadium Preservation Project, expected to break ground this year.
The last stop on the team’s trip was to the old cadet chapel in the West Point cemetery, where they heard from Foley’s classmate, Freed Lowrey ’67, and reflected on the sacrifices West Point graduates have made throughout history and continue to make today.
After a full day spent mingling with cadets and learning about West Point, the team departed to prepare to play the New York Rangers on Friday at Madison Square Garden.