The Vegas Golden Knights have had a historic year in all aspects of the game and are now fighting for the Stanley Cup. From the pre-game antics to the pre-game parties, and everything in between, I think we can now call Vegas a hockey town. I attended a game earlier this year and would like to give you some insight on my experience.
Vegas Golden Knights Embracing Vegas Strong
One of the biggest factors that may have brought the fans and Golden Knights together was the tragic Vegas shooting that occurred on October 1st, 2017. The Golden Knights honored the heroes of that night during their home opener, Vegas also retired the number 58 to honor the 58 lives that were lost that night. Derrick England, who is a Las Vegas native gave an emotional speech before puck drop on opening night. The momentum has brought this city together and has brought the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Pre-Game Experience
The pre-game experience in Vegas is absolutely crazy starting with their “Knight Line March”. This is when the mascot, the drumline, and the cheerleaders march through the Park entertainment district of Las Vegas on their way to the arena. Before each game, there are bands performing outside, life-size games of connect-four and every bar by the arena is jammed pack. Let’s not forget that the arena is right on the strip in Vegas which is in the center of one of the biggest tourist towns in the world.
Once the game is about to start Vegas puts on a show before their team hits the ice. These antics are anything from the “Golden Knight” pulling a sword out of a rock like Thor would do after the opponents were unsuccessful at pulling it out, Having arrows shooting down other teams banners, to even grounding Jets during the previous round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs all these are followed by their drumline who are decked in neon lights playing. Right before puck-drop, they have a special guest crank up their siren to start the game. They also have a castle in their arena – yes a castle.
The Entertainment During Intermission
Now unlike most teams who may have a local pee-wee team play a game between the intermission, Vegas does what they do best and puts on a show. During the first intermission, they had Cirque Du Soleil perform, which included acrobats flying from the ceiling which was completely unreal. During the second intermission, they had Blue Man Group do their bit which was also fantastic.
The Fans and the Town
The fans and the town of Vegas have been crazy for their team all year, especially in the playoffs. They sold out their season tickets before the season even started. If you look at the playoffs, in particular, they have gone all out including putting a Golden Knights jersey on the Statue of Liberty replica in Las Vegas. Since they first started they knew they were going to have a big fan base but no-one thought that it would the team would get this far. They were ranked fourth in average home attendance this year.
Also, the state of Nevada has seen a 15% increase in hockey participation in the last year (200 new players). So not only have they started the growth of hockey fans they have also increased the hockey culture as a whole.
Is It Too Much?
A lot of people are saying that Vegas is too cheesy and throwing too much of Vegas into their hockey team. Yes, they may go over the edge a bit but it’s Vegas what else would you expect from a town who thrives on show business. I think that they are embracing their location of being right on the strip in the center of Vegas and having fun in their inaugural season.
If Vegas is able to finish off this Cinderella story it will very interesting to see what kind of antics they throw into their Parade.
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