BRYAN WILSON – 02.24.2023

Being a member of an expansion team is a unique experience for any player, but to make your mark on three separate inaugural teams is something rare indeed.

Wranglers netminder, Oscar Dansk, has that distinction.

Originally drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2012 (second round – 31st overall), Dansk later signed with the expansion Vegas Golden Knights organization in 2017-18. He played most of that season with Knights’ affiliate, the Chicago Wolves (AHL), but appeared in four NHL games that year as a backup to Marc-Andre Fleury, posting a 3-0-0 record, with a 1.78 goals-against average (GAA) and a .946 save-percentage (Sv%).

Of course, Vegas went on an incredible run to the Stanley Cup final that year. When asked about playing with three-time Stanley Cup champion Fleury, Dansk’s face lit up instantly.

“I could stand here and talk for hours about Flower, he’s one of a kind,” he beamed. “I didn’t really have anybody that I looked up to until I started playing with Marc-Andre and I do really look up to him and the things he does, both on the ice and off the ice. He’s a true competitor and a really good teammate.”

“I try to pass that on, with Dustin (Wolf) and some of the other younger guys,” he continued. “There’s only one Flower and I can only be myself. So, I try to do the best that I can. But he’s certainly an inspiring person to look up to and I still do to this day.”

In 2020-21, Dansk appeared in 11 games for the brand new AHL affiliate of the Golden Knights, the Henderson Silver Knights, again during their inaugural season.

Now with the inaugural Wranglers, it seems Dansk has a pretty good handle on this whole expansion thing, and he’s helped instill some foundational principles for building a successful team culture within a fledgling group.

Humility, hard work and good communication are key, and Dansk is now in a position to share what he’s learned over the years to help motivate and inspire his younger teammates, especially his goaltending partner Dustin Wolf.

“It’s really cool. He’s a special player, he has so many tools in his toolbox,” Dansk explained, when asked about working with Wolf this season.

“He’s a really cool kid, he’s fun to be around, but we compete, too – it’s fun. He really pushes me to be at my best and I’ve learned a lot of things from watching him every day. I think he’s a special player and I think he’s going to have a great future ahead of him. He works hard; it’s fun to be a part of it.”

Dustin Wolf and Oscar Dansk. (Photo by Candice Ward)

As the Wranglers continue to endear themselves to the Calgary market, Dansk has enjoyed watching the local fanbase grow exponentially this season.

“I think it’s exciting to see the growth of the fans. I think that’s been a fun experience so far and I feel like everything has run smoothly here. I really enjoy Calgary. I think it’s a great city, great people.”

“When you have those things, I feel like the whole expansion thing goes a lot smoother. When you have good people, good fans, good leadership around and a good organization, I feel like that really helps with everything. It’s been fun.”