Vegas. One of the most important hockey markets in the world. The hockey city and franchise others want to imitate.
If pucks were seeds, there would be hockey trees growing all over Nevada.
With today’s announcement of the name and logo for the newly-acquired AHL franchise to be housed in its own state-of-the-art arena in Henderson, the Golden Knights have taken another step in planting their franchise flag and that of the game of hockey in Nevada.
Vegas has grown in less than five years into one of the most impactful places in the hockey world.
One of the most often asked questions regarding the incoming expansion franchise in Seattle is how it will compare to Vegas on and off the ice. Can the newest NHL franchise live up to the standard of winning on the ice and growth off the ice set by Bill Foley’s hockey operation.
Last week’s approval of a 6,000-seat AHL arena in Henderson brought the number of ice surfaces Foley has played a role in developing in Nevada to six. And it’s almost a certainty there will be more.
The NHL annually holds is awards show in Vegas and the city is among the finalists to be a hub location for the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Foley paid $500 million for his expansion franchise and it’s immediate success saw the price tag rise to $650 for Seattle.
The team won the Pacific Division and Western Conference in Year 1 before succumbing in the Stanley Cup Final. The club has punched a ticket to the playoffs in all three of its years of existence.
Players around the league have consistently referred to the atmosphere at Golden Knights as the best in the NHL. Fans from other cities have made Vegas a top sports trip attraction.
Players have voted the ice surface in Vegas, the facilities at T-Mobile Arena and the Golden Knights jerseys among the best in the NHL.
Game production at Golden Knights games is revolutionary and teams from around the NHL send staff to visit Vegas for the experience. Fans routinely line up outside T-Mobile Arena hours before puck drop to get a good spot to watch warmups where the music blares and players show off both skills and personality.
Tickets for VGK games are hard to come by and the arena has operated at 105 percent capacity for its history. TV ratings for the team are among the highest in the NHL and the club is a driver in hockey related revenue.
The number of kids getting on the ice with a hockey stick in hand has grown exponentially since 2017. A couple of hundred young players have become a wave of more than 2,000 youth hockey players skating at different levels at the rinks around town wearing their favorite team’s golden shield.
The organization has invested in grow the game projects and the demand for programming and ice-time is high. Vegas isn’t just a Golden Knights town, it’s a hockey town.