The scoreboard inside T-Mobile Arena reads 0.6 seconds. Everyone inside and out of it knows that the Stanley Cup Final is over when the clock plays the last sixth of a second. The puck drops and almost as soon as it hits the ice, the horn sounds. In the Vegas Golden Knights first year of existence, the Cup is raised in and skated around the arena that belongs to them.
The only issue – it’s not the home team that’s raising it. The Cup this year belongs to the Washington Capitals, who did what the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, and Winnipeg Jets combined could not do: win four games against the Golden Knights.
The team nicknamed “The Golden Misfits” was just three wins from making history in the league. Vegas has a fantastic shot to make it back there next season, but this season produced a lot of things to appreciate about the NHL’s newest franchise and the city that hosts it.
Vegas Golden Knights Entertainment Factor
For a young fan looking to get into hockey, Vegas is the perfect landing spot. While most of the other teams in the league offer tradition as their entertainment, Vegas strays away for that. Their twist on a new NHL is not always one that fans understand, appreciate, or agree with, but the Golden Knights will continue it.
To kick off each of the three home games in the Stanley Cup Final, Lil Jon, Fall Out Boy, and Panic! At The Disco (who produced the song Vegas uses for its goal celebration) all played to a crowd outside the arena. All three performers are considered to be well known amongst younger crowds, which is a great way to get hockey outsiders hooked in. Keeping popular culture in the atmosphere is a fantastic way to bring in views not only to the team, but also the league.
The National Football League does this with the Super Bowl halftime show. They bring in popular musicians and it gets the eyes of those that may never watch a game otherwise.
The pre-game ceremony is a lot different in Sin City and a lot of long-time hockey fans disapprove of it. The event features a knight in gold armour preparing to defend the home ice from a rendition of the visitor’s mascot with the help of the castle display located high above the ice.
After the golden knight defeats the pre-game opponent, the Golden Knights team walks through a hallway of mirrors. The reflection of mirrors facing each other almost indicates that there is an infinite fleet of soldiers wearing steel gray uniforms marching to the ice for battle.
The show that is put on is very fitting for the city of Las Vegas. It’s why most even come there in the first place. While a lot of hockey fans who prefer a more classic approach and a “just drop the puck” attitude, it’s important to note that the Golden Knights team really is not meant to fit in with the rest. Its location is too perfect not to include this type of entertainment.
Vegas truly does go above and beyond when it comes to giving fans their money’s worth. The city blows any competition out of the water with its intriguing content and on top of that, they included a giant helmet to skate through when they take to the ice. And to combat the claims that it’s “tacky”, many teams do the same thing with their own significant figure, including the Original Six-era Detroit Red Wings who enter the rink through a cartoon octopus.
Without a full roster one year ago, the Golden Knights built a successful team in their inaugural season. The team may look different next year, but that’s not entirely a bad thing. Most of these players were dumped at the doorstep of Vegas, where they got the chance to emerge as players who deserve to be in the NHL. They were given a chance to play in a season where the expectations were so low that it really didn’t matter if they performed poorly. Fortunately for Vegas, players like William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, and Alex Tuch showed their former teams why letting them go was a mistake.
This off-season, the Golden Knights may choose to include some of these players in deals for other good players around the league. While they found success this season, they did come up short, which means something needs to change for them.
In a strange way, losing the Stanley Cup to the Capitals may be just what the Golden Knights needed. As a new team, they really had no pressure on them. Anything above dead last in the conference would have been successful.
When it comes to the Cup Final, there is an added element of what team needs it more. For Washington, 44 years of misery was on the line and they couldn’t bear it any longer. For Vegas, their history of being without a Cup was not a factor. It would have been exciting, but less than 365 days is not much of a waiting period for the league’s trophy.
The taste of a being so close and coming up short gives the Golden Knights a reason to get back to that spot next season. They know what they’re capable of and now their sights are on winning the Stanley Cup.
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