I’m not exactly sure why it finally hit me today, but it definitely did. So much so that I had an angry enough look on my face that Miss Abby (my wife) said to me, “what the heck are you looking at?” Every morning the first thing I do when I wake up is grab my phone and start going through the motions to see what’s in the news about the Las Vegas NHL franchise. Usually all I find is regurgitated news from the past few days, but every once in a while something new pops up on screen.
This morning that was the case in an article from NHL.com talking about this weekend’s charity hockey game out at SoBe Arena. The Las Vegas Firefighters Youth Hockey Foundation charity game has been a winner each of its first four years. This article however decided to take a different, yet far too common, look at the event.
The article’s main focus was not on the game, but on “if Vegas be a good hockey market.” The writer spoke with George Parros, former NHLer who played with the Kings, Avs, Ducks, Panthers and Habs over his nine year career and now lives in the valley permanently. Like everyone else in and around Vegas, Parros gave the standard response.
This is a great sports town. This is going to be a great hockey market. I like to stay close to hockey. I’m trying to figure out my life in the hockey world here. It’s very exciting to have a team come to town. -George Parros
But that’s not the part that bothered me. It’s the fact that him saying it made a headline on NHL.com. It’s the fact that every time any reporter from outside of Vegas gets a chance to interview someone about hockey, they ask if this is going to be a good market.
It’s time for this madness to stop. Las Vegas has an NHL team. It also has over 15,000 season ticket deposits, one of the nicest hockey stadiums in the world, a top notch practice facility in the works, and a community chomping at the bit to start showing their support. (No, I do not have news on the team name today.)
It’s not a valid question any more. Las Vegas is a hockey market. Just like Chicago, New York, Montreal, Vancouver, Nashville, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, I think you get my point. If you have a team, you are a hockey market, it’s really that simple.
What type of fan base will we have? What will the crowds be like at the games? How many kids will grow up loving hockey rather than football, baseball, or basketball in Las Vegas? These are questions that are yet to be answered.
Most of us living here know the answers. The only thing standing in the way of our proof is time. So, it’s time to start asking the real question. When do the games start, so we can stop reading a fact repackaged as local Las Vegans’ opinions?