9 facts about Zach Whitecloud.

By: Nitin Singh

1. He is of Dakota descent and was raised in the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation in Manitoba. He is the first Indigenous NHL player from his community and a role model for many young hockey players.  

2. He went undrafted while playing for Bemidji State University in Minnesota, where he led defencemen in scoring and was named to the WCHA All-Academic Team. He signed with the Golden Knights as a college free agent in 2018.  

3. He made his NHL debut on April 5, 2018 against the Edmonton Oilers and finished with a team-best plus-3 in 16:42 of ice time. He was ineligible to play in the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs because he was not on the team's reserve list by the trade deadline.   

4. He spent most of the 2018–19 and 2019–20 seasons with the Chicago Wolves, the Golden Knights' American Hockey League affiliate, where he developed his defensive skills and leadership qualities.

5. He established himself with Vegas late in the 2019-20 season and formed one of the best defensive duos in the playoffs with Nick Holden. He scored his first NHL goal in Game 7 of the second round against the Vancouver Canucks.

6. He was selected to play for Team Canada at the 2017 Karjala Cup in Finland, where he was the youngest skater on the roster. He was also named to Team Canada's pre-Olympic roster before the 2018 Winter Olympics but failed to make the final cut.  

7. He wears number 2 on his jersey, which he chose because it was his father's favorite number and because he admired former NHL defenceman Brian Leetch, who also wore number 2. 

8. He is an avid golfer and enjoys fishing and hunting in his spare time. He also likes to play video games and watch movies with his teammates.

9. He signed a six-year, $16.5 million contract extension with the Golden Knights on October 28, 2021, which will keep him with the team until 2027-28. He said he was grateful for the opportunity and excited for the future.