MORE ICE IN VEGAS THAN IN THE DRINKS
By Jeff Alexander
I don’t know shit about hockey! Well, that’s not quite true. I know a few things, based on the few times I’ve seen it on TV. The game is played on an ice “rink” that is kept smooth in between “periods” by a machine called a “Zamboni.” The players wear heavy protection and slap a “puck” around the ice until one of them slams it past a “goalie” into the “net” or “goal.” The puck is made of plastic so hard that most players have very few teeth as a result of having been hit in the mouth by a puck flying off a “hockey stick” at 100-200 mph. They skate on razor sharp blades that can cut and maim. They bang each other into the clear plastic walls that encircle the rink, and players are allowed to go at each other much like boxers when a particularly hard “check” occurs. I know the games are low-scoring, since it takes incredible skill to slap that puck past a goalie guarding the net. I know that hockey players’ wrists are so strong from the years of swinging their hockey sticks, that they usually can hit a golf ball a country mile. Remember Adam Sandler in that golf movie, Happy Gilmore? He slapped that golf ball to kingdom come!!
I do know it’s a game that requires great athleticism, hard work and determined dedication. The excitement of fans attending a hockey game is exhilarating, electric, loud, and almost unparalleled in any other sport; all this in a really cold arena. But probably not as cold as the freezing winter areas of the world where this sport was first played on outdoor rinks.
And now hockey has arrived in Las Vegas! The as yet unnamed team will compete in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the NHL against Anaheim, Arizona, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, San Jose and Vancouver. Of course, if Las Vegas gets into the playoffs, they will also get to see games against great Eastern teams like the Detroit Red Wings! The Vegas team plans to be competing by the October 2017 season.
Many, many people thought it couldn’t be done. That is, a major sport franchise in Las Vegas. But thanks to the passion and love of sports of two icons, Bill Foley (the billionaire visionary) and the Maloofs (well-known casino and basketball team owners), the dream has become a reality. The rabid Las Vegas sports fans will soon have their own major league team to root for, idolize, and die for. The season hasn’t even begun and fans are talking NFL next. Let’s hope our team gets to the playoffs, long before hell freezes over—‘cause if hell ever freezes over, we all better know how to skate!
Hockey Vision Las Vegas – Bill Foley and the Maloof family are the driving forces, behind the Hockey Vision Las Vegas, LLC., and bringing a NHL hockey team to this city.
Foley – Bill Foley is the billionaire behind the Las Vegas bid. He spent his elementary school years living in Ottawa, Canada. He grew to love hockey, and his passion led him to bring the first-ever NHL hockey team to Las Vegas.
Maloofs – The Maloof family’s passion for sports ended up with professional sports ownership of the NBA’s Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings, including hockey.
GM – Washington Capitals’ General Manager, George McPhee, has been named the Las Vegas team’s GM. McPhee is known for drafting one of the game’s elite players, Alex Ovechkin, to the Caps, which helped the team reach the 1998 Stanley Cup Finals.
$500 million – the cost of the Las Vegas franchise, purchased by Foley.
$4 million – the amount of merchandising revenue Foley expects to make year one.
$75 million – maximum spent per year on players’ salaries (23 players per team).
$20 million – the cost of the team’s practice facility to be built by Foley near Downtown Summerlin, which will include a locker room, coaches’ offices, and rehab center.
Season – runs from October to April and includes 82 games.
Team Name – Black Knights, Neon Knights, Mob, Outlaws, have all been thrown around. Foley may announce it at the T-Mobile Arena party for season-ticket holders.
Coach – not to be hired until spring.
Draft – begins June 2017.
Stadium – Games will be played at the T-Mobile arena, which has a seating capacity of 17,500 for hockey and has 44 luxury suites.
Season Tickets – 15,000 of the 17,500 seats already have season-ticket deposits. Some seats are being saved for single-game buys at an estimated cost of $20-$220.
17 years – since the NHL has added a franchise.
Winning Goal – Foley’s incredible goal: to have the Vegas team make the playoffs in the next three years and then to go on and win the Stanley Cup within eight years.
Hockey Culture - Vegas hasn’t been a hockey city, but Foley’s positive vision includes having youth leagues and educating a younger generation about the sport.