Golden Knights Proving Doubters Wrong Ahead Of Home Regular-Season Debut
The Golden Knights play their first home game tonight at T-Mobile Arena against the Coyotes, and less than a week into their NHL expansion campaign, they are "leading the league in converts," according to Kevin Allen of USA TODAY. The Golden Knights are 2-0, and anyone who thought the NHL was "gambling by going to Las Vegas has lost that bet so far." The Golden Knights are the "highest-profile and most anticipated expansion team in NHL history." StubHub reported that seven of the top 10 highest-demand games "were Golden Knights games, including their opener, which was No. 2 behind the opening" of the Red Wings’ new Little Caesars Arena. T-Mobile Arena seats 17,500 for hockey, but Golden Knights VP/Ticketing & Suites Todd Pollock said that obstructed view, standing room, and even a fifth-floor lounge "will be overflowing" for tonight's game. Pollock added he could “sell thousands more” tickets if he had them. Allen notes the Golden Knights "could have sold out their entire season but capped season tickets at just over 14,000 to ensure that even the casual fan can see a game live" (USA TODAY, 10/10). In Toronto, Damien Cox writes the Golden Knights have "managed to do nothing wrong yet." Cox: "Not a single misstep. Nary a tone-deaf message. ... Las Vegas may have done the best job of any expansion team in league history with its first steps." An expansion team focusing on "cheerfully turning people on to NHL hockey" in wake of last week's shooting is "about the most difficult situation imaginable from a sports business perspective." But the Golden Knights are "getting it right." The NHL’s expansion record to date "hasn’t been particularly great," but the Golden Knights are the "new template" (TORONTO STAR, 10/10).
THE HEALING PROCESS: In Las Vegas, Steve Carp notes the team and NHL tonight will "pay tribute" to the victims of last week's shooting in a pregame ceremony "scheduled for 15 minutes." There were "still tickets available" as of late yesterday afternoon, "mostly the expensive seats down by the glass" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 10/10). The AP's Tim Dahlberg wrote Las Vegas "remains a somber place," and a hockey game "isn't going to suddenly make things better." Golden Knights Owner Bill Foley: "We can do the celebratory activity in our second game on Friday. We just deferred all of that and thought we should just focus on helping the victims any way we can" (AP, 10/9).
WINNER IN A LANDSLIDE: In Las Vegas, Ron Kantowski writes under the header, "Puck Finally Drops On Oscar Goodman's Las Vegas Dream." The former Las Vegas mayor was the one who "first envisioned" NHL hockey in the city and had been "talking about bringing major league sports" there since '99. He went to N.Y. during his "first week on the job to discuss with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman the possibility of Las Vegas hosting an NHL team one day." Kantowski writes rumors of the NHL coming to Las Vegas "were building a little steam," but without a "first-class arena, what chance was there of the puck stopping here?" But now there is T-Mobile Arena, and it "didn’t cost taxpayers a dime." Goodman "planted the seed," and had the "vision" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 10/10).
CASHING IN: In Las Vegas, Alan Snel noted Costco customers in Summerlin, Nev., "gobbled up hundreds" of Golden Knights jerseys that were "selling for $34.99." That is a "mere fraction of the $120 it costs" for a replica and the $180 for an "authentic one at the team store only a mile down the street at the Knights training center." A Costco worker at the Summerlin store said that "some 500 Golden Knights jerseys were snapped up in three days, while the same jersey lasted only a day or two at the Henderson Costco" (LVSPORTSBIZ.com, 10/8).