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The NHL Is Coming to Las Vegas!

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Las Vegas, with its blistering summers and desert surroundings, doesn’t seem like the ideal place for a wintertime sport. That’s why many were surprised when it was announced that Vegas would be home to a new NHL hockey team in the coming years. It’s all very recent developments, so while much is still very much up in the air, there are still some facts we can go off of.

History of Las Vegas Hockey

Believe it or not, hockey isn’t anything new to Vegas. The first professional hockey team to call the City of Lights home was the 1970 Las Vegas Gamblers, playing in the Southwest Hockey League. Another team, the Outlaws, followed them, but disappeared after two years. Since then, on and off throughout the years, leagues have changed, minor league teams have played, and deals have been struck, but nothing major league has stuck.
That changed in 2014, when the NHL tapped investors Bill Foley and the Maloof family to head up an expansion of the league in Vegas. Foley was allowed to take deposits on a season ticket drive to determine interest in the area. Interest was apparently high enough for the NHL to grant the team entrance to the league, scheduled to start in the 2017 season.

Who, What, Where, and When

While hockey in Las Vegas has been a long time coming, the development of an NHL franchise in the city is still very exciting and still very fresh. Accordingly, there are still many, many details we don’t know yet while deals continue to get hammered out behind the scenes. What we do know, as of now, is that the team will be owned by Bill Foley and the team’s general manager will be George McPhee. While McPhee is new to the Las Vegas area, he comes with a lot of NHL experience, having spent 17 years as the GM of the Washington Capitals.
What’s left to be decided? A lot, including the team’s name (Foley wanted the Las Vegas Black Knights but has run into copyright issues), its players, its logo, and even the offices of where all the business will happen. But, despite the unknowns that still need to get sorted, one thing is for sure: the Las Vegas team, whatever its name and lineup, will be playing out of the recently built T-Mobile Arena in Paradise.

The Future of Vegas Hockey

Besides the obvious questions, there are still a lot that’s unknown about how this new team will affect the NHL – and how it will affect Las Vegas. Some are concerned that, in a city with so many options for entertainment, there just won’t be enough of an incentive to check out the game when there’s so much else going on. With the pre-season ticket deposits having been sold, it’s been demonstrated that there is some genuine interest in seeing this experiment work out, but it’ll be another trial all together when the team plays its first public season.
Despite your feelings about hockey, you can’t deny that having a professional sports team in Vegas will be a great cause to rally behind and bring pride to the city. All in all, it’s going to be a very exciting time to be an NHL fan in Vegas, so if you aren’t already a hockey fan, you might be one soon!

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