One of our goals here at is to be the voice of the valley when it comes to the NHL. In trying to do so we often have the opportunity to interact with some incredible people (and excellent writers) who are equally as passionate about hockey in Las Vegas as we are. Therefore, we wanted to give you, our readers, the opportunity to let your voice be heard via guest posts to the site.

Our first guest post comes from Ryan Sutliffe. Enjoy.

I grew up playing hockey in Las Vegas and was continuously met with comments from people that live in traditional hockey markets like, “they have ice in Vegas” or “don’t you guys all live in hotels?”

It’s no secret that Vegas isn’t exactly a hockey hotbed, however the tide has started to change. I was fortunate enough to play junior and college hockey after high school, and the number of Vegas kids making it in hockey has continued to grow. Yes, there has only been one NHL player from Las Vegas (no not Adam Zucker, but Jason Zucker), but the possibility of future Vegas players making it to the “show” is possible. Hockey has continued to grow since my playing days at the two Vegas hockey rinks, with the addition of the Las Vegas Storm junior hockey team and the success of UNLV hockey. The city of lights is also home to multiple former pro players who have helped out with youth hockey over the years. These players will undoubtedly continue to look to make an impact with the addition of professional hockey.

A National Hockey League team would be ideal to the growth of hockey in the desert. You can look at California as a model for what could happen if the creator was able to deliver a team to Vegas. According to USA hockey, “youth hockey in California has grown by 29.3 percent in the last 10 years.” Truthfully some of the growth in California can be attributed to people jumping on the bandwagon of the Kings and Ducks, after both of their respective cup runs, but this information can only be seen as positive for people living here.

When the NHL expands to a new city, they set up a network of youth hockey “roots” if you will. Understandably so, the league wants to do everything in their power to ensure that the team stays. What better way than getting the youth involved with a team, especially considering professional sports have yet to call the valley home. Plans for a new area have been established to house a practice facility for the NHL, and would allow more ice for youth hockey programs. Additionally, with the introduction of a team more youth players would have the desire to get started in hockey (alas Jr. Black Knights or Jr. Rat Pack whatever your going with.) I have personally seen the establishment of youth hockey arenas with ties to NHL parent clubs in California and Dallas, Texas. Also, if you believe that professional athletes are role models for younger people, what better athlete to have representing our city.

There are challenges with bringing a team here, but in terms of youth hockey and community growth a NHL team makes a lot of sense.

Ryan Sutliffe

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