Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

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Guest Post: No Matter What, VGK Came First

Usually for people in Alabama, Saturday’s are for football. But once football season wraps up, our friends from Forest Gump’s home state usually go into a deep dark depression. That’s not the case for our next Guest Post author who decided months ago that he was ready to jump aboard the VGK bandwagon. 

This Guest Post comes from Cameron Cole, and like The Creator, he’s not thrilled about the Raiders coming to Vegas.

I have always loved the idea of being a fan of a team from Day 1. Every day I would Google “expansion team” or “relocation team” and read all the rumors and such. But I also wanted the team to be the right fit. I live in Birmingham, Alabama, which probably causes most of you to automatically think football. Yes, that is our state’s main attraction as we have 2 teams who play in the best conference in the NCAA (just let me have this for now, we can debate it another time). We also have a minor league baseball team the Birmingham Barons. In April 2016 I googled NHL expansion and came up. It was one of their amazing podcasts (which if you have never listened to you need to start ASAP) in which they talked about how Vegas was getting a team and Quebec City was not. I knew that there wasn’t a major pro sports team in Vegas then so I decided to do some research about the history of pro sports in Vegas.

I found that Vegas and Birmingham have almost identical histories in the sporting world. Birmingham has had an XFL team, a CFL team, and an Arena football team. Vegas has had an XFL team, a CFL team, and an AFL team too! So I was like I was looking at Birmingham in the sports world! Then it happened, the NHL was officially expanding to Vegas, so I instantly became a fan of the Las Vegas NHL team (which we know now as the Vegas Golden Knights). It was the perfect fit. Over the next few months I learned hockey and have watched a lot more of the Predators and read every SinBin article they put out…Then the raiders talk came.

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Roster Move All But Confirms Chicago Wolves As AHL Affiliate

The plan is still to wait until the Chicago Wolves season ends to make the announcement that the Golden Knights will become their new parent club, but sometimes hockey logistics get in the way of a good plan.

With Reid Duke’s WHL season ending last week, we have explored opportunities and options for him to play additional games this year. The Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League – who are currently the AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues – agreed to take Reid on a professional tryout agreement. Reid will be available to play for Chicago beginning Friday. We are appreciative of the Wolves organization for affording Reid this opportunity, which will be beneficial for his development as a player -George McPhee in Press Release

Duke’s WHL season wrapped up on the 29th of March when the Wheaties were swept by the Medicine Hat Tigers. Duke scored three goals and racked up eight penalty minutes in the four game series.

But now, the 21 year old is left with no where to play. Normally, an undrafted free agent like Duke would find his way to the AHL or ECHL for the final few games of the season. If he’s promising enough, he may even find his way on to the NHL team. Well, Vegas doesn’t have any of those, so they had to find something to do.

It was originally reported back in January that the Golden Knights and Chicago Wolves were in discussions. Then in February a team source told us the deal is done but nothing could be confirmed until the AHL season ends. Finally, during George McPhee’s Q&A with the fans in March the GM confirmed Vegas would have complete hockey control over their AHL affiliate.

Add it all up, and this is not a favor the Chicago Wolves and St. Louis Blues are granted the Golden Knights. This is the first transaction Vegas is making with it’s AHL club… despite what the team says.

The Golden Knights AHL affiliation discussions are still ongoing. We will announce those details after the affiliation agreement has been finalized and confirmed. -McPhee in Press Release

This is a move any NHL club would make with their minor league affiliate, just Vegas has to call it something different… for now.

Understanding The NHL Draft Lottery

The first time the Vegas Golden Knights will officially participate in an NHL sanctioned “competition” will be at the NHL Draft Lottery on April 29th. With a little help from TSN’s finest Frank Seravalli, the math wizards at, and this thing called Twitter, we unearthed the exact odds the NHL will be using for the 2017 lottery.

For those who are new to the NHL, the lottery is a system that was implemented in 1995 to curb the appeal of tanking. Rather than awarding the team with the worst record in the league the first overall pick (like NFL and MLB) the league instead gives them the best chance to win the lottery. All non-playoff teams are entered into the lottery with their odds to win corresponding to their record; worse the team, better the odds.

The NHL Lottery is actually a series of three lotteries using identical odds to determine the top three selections in the NHL Draft. After the lotteries decide the first three picks, teams are slotted in to the draft order based on their record. Therefore, the worst team can select no lower than fourth in the first round, and are guaranteed the first pick in the second round.

Still with me?

Now let’s move into how the Vegas Golden Knights fit into this year’s lottery.

The Las Vegas franchise will be given the same odds in the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery as the team finishing with the third-fewest points during the 2016-17 regular season. –NHL Expansion Draft Rules

Thus, two teams have better odds than the Golden Knights. After the lotteries, Vegas is technically the third worst team meaning they can select no worse than sixth (will explain how in a moment), and are guaranteed to pick third in the second through seventh rounds.

NHL Draft Lottery Odds (courtesy of

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Last Chance To Buy Full Season Tickets; Team Sets Friday 5PM Deadline

Still thinking about buying season tickets to the Golden Knights inaugural campaign? Well consider your feet officially to the fire.

Vegas Golden Knights Chairman and CEO Bill Foley announced that the last day for fans to secure 2017-18 full season ticket memberships to Golden Knights home games will be Friday, April 7 at 5:00 p.m. PT. -Press Release

You’ve had 26 months (ticket drive launched on 2/10/15) to make up your mind, and now The Creator has give the definitive s**t or get off the pot. No more procrastinating allowed.

This is rather significant news in that there’s still two months before the Golden Knights fill their roster, and six months before they hit the ice, and yet they are capping season ticket sales. Ending season ticket sales means the remaining seats will be allotted for single game and group tickets, a number that was described to us as “already very manageable.” That number only gets smaller as each dilly-dallier comes in before Friday’s deadline.

Quite the feat when you consider the fact that the Predators, who entered the league in 1998, recently announced they sold out all 41 home games for the first time in franchise history this season. Today’s announcement ensures the Golden Knights should hit that mark in year one without any issue.

The response from the local population here in Las Vegas to our team really has been incredible. The fact that we have reached our full season ticket membership limit months before our expansion draft certainly illustrates that. -The Creator in Press Release

Fans will still be able to purchase split season (11 or 22 game) packages after the deadline and single game seats will go on sale sometime in the Summer. They have also created a wait list that will begin on Friday aptly named the “Can’t Wait Priority List.” For all the people that, you know, couldn’t wait to make up their mind over the last 26 months and now suddenly can’t wait to get their hands on season tickets.

Don’t be one of those people. If you want season tickets, just effing buy them already… or at least do it by 5PM on Friday. Otherwise, you are out of luck, and more importantly, reserves the right to make fun of you mercilessly.


The team also sent out this sweet image in an email to those on their newsletter. That font is really starting to grow on me (hint hint #VivaVGK).

Introducing The Vegas Junior Golden Knights

Say hello to the next generation of readers, I mean, Golden Knights fans.

The Vegas Golden Knights announced today, April 4, that the team has formed a partnership with the Nevada Storm to create a new youth hockey travel program, the Vegas Junior Golden Knights. The Vegas Junior Golden Knights program will initially feature teams from the mite level through midget and will utilize all three city rinks, including the Golden Knights practice facility, the Las Vegas Ice Center and the SoBe Ice Arena. All existing Nevada Storm teams will be re-branded under the Vegas Junior Golden Knights name. -Press Release

The partnership connects the team with the community more than ever. Now, children in Southern Nevada will have an easier chance to play the game, and wear VGK colors while doing it. Hockey participation will undoubtedly grow in Las Vegas as more kids will want to play like their favorite Knight. We discussed last summer how the Kings and Ducks have done a great job developing their youth and HS leagues. Now Southern California has thousands of kids choosing to skate over other sports. For two decades the Golden State has had constant growth in youth hockey participation.

Courtesy of (

Hockey participation is up all across the nation and California consistently leads in player growth. It currently ranks #7 in the US for youth or high school programs. Brad Sholl, who was announced as the GM of the Golden Knights new practice facility was very close to Southern California’s youth hockey evolution.

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Nolan Patrick Draft Stock Continues To Slip

Months ago Brandon Wheat Kings star prospect Nolan Patrick was the near consensus first overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft. Through a season of injuries and a fantastic campaign by the Swiss standout, Nico Hischier is starting to find his way to the top of draft boards.

So what do you do if you have the first pick overall this summer? Patrick’s two-way game and 6-foot-3 frame seemed to make him a safe top pick before the injuries, but Hischier’s hockey IQ and elite offensive skills make him look like another Jonathan Drouin. For me, it’s Hischier right now – and he certainly had to earn the distinction. -Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News

Hischier has been stupendous all season long and has continued his excellent run during the QJHML playoffs. Meanwhile, Patrick has been out much of the season and missed the Wheaties playoff series in which they were swept.

Here’s the good news, the Golden Knights didn’t need the 2016-17 season to know who Nolan Patrick is. While many teams were set to take advantage of another pre-draft eligible season for Patrick (he missed the cutoff by four days last year), they weren’t afforded a wealth of ice time due to Patrick’s nagging injuries. The Golden Knights on the other hand have Kelly McCrimmon on their staff. The current owner of the Brandon Wheat Kings and the former coach and GM of Patrick through his first three years in Manitoba.

Of course the lottery balls still have to have their say (still no official date on the lottery yet), but it’s likely that if McCrimmon believes Patrick is the next Anze Kopitar, he and McPhee will do what it takes to make him a Golden Knight. Therefore, the injuries, the rise of Hischier, and the lack of minutes from Patrick could in fact be a blessing in disguise for Vegas.

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Second Golden Knight Could Be On The Ice At Thursday’s Frozen Four

It’s been about a month now since Vegas signed first ever player Reid Duke. Not much more was expected but I was hoping Vegas would be in the mix for some college free agents. Well, maybe they still are. Thursday the semi-finals of the Frozen Four take place and one name in particular will be closely watched by Vegas scouts. Defenseman Neal Pionk of the University Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs is quite highly sought after.

Pionk is a new hybrid style defenseman. At 5’10, 170lbs the Minnesota native was passed over a few times because of his small stature. His talent, however, is tough to overlook. Scouts rave about his experience, skating ability, offensive zone presence and physicality. Pionk scored 33 points in 40 games and is a legitimate two-way defenseman. Of course Pionk can turn the puck over but has smart recovery instincts. He’s developed into a major threat on special teams as well. The former Sioux City Musketeer might be small but his speed and skill make up for it. Plus, the UMD Bulldog shoots right-handed. Yep, a right-handed defenseman, one of Don Cherry’s most coveted prospect.

ESPN’s Craig Custance spoke with GM George McPhee earlier this month about the Golden Knights interest in Pionk. McPhee implied Vegas will be in the market for NHL caliber prospects not AHL depth players. We can assume the 21 year-old defenseman is projected for the T-Mobile Arena or McPhee wouldn’t be interested. Nor would 20 other clubs.

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Dreger Drops Some Expansion Protection List Heat

Are the Vegas Golden Knights helping the NHL’s attention and popularity? TSN’s Darren Dreger suggested the positive impact expansion has had on the league could’ve been a reason the NHL decided to reveal expansion lists.

I think they would had to have heard and recognize some of the backlash mostly coming from the media. And maybe the marketing people internally, with the National Hockey League also recognized that this is missed opportunity. You want as many layers of media talking about expansion, the Vegas Golden Knights, speculating, reporting… It just adds another level of excitement. Darren Dreger, TSN

Dreger went on to say public intrigue has been noticeable this season and the NHL wants to continue the ride. Making the expansion draft more fan friendly will only benefit the league’s popularity. Specifically, with the fans of the Golden Knights. Dreger also discussed the reaction some players would have once the expansion list was revealed.

I think there will be players who feel jilted by the fact that their general manager had to make a tough call. There’s definitely going to players unhappy. -Dreger

What’s worse for the jilted player? Being drafted by Vegas or being forced to go back to the team that left you high and dry? Let’s start with the obvious, what drafted player is really going to be pissed to move to Vegas? Sure, Michael Grabner may be sour because the Rangers let him go, but it can’t last long. Between the weather, cost of living, and “entertainment,” most players will be happy they got the call from George McPhee. Plus, most players selected will be happy to play in Las Vegas is because of the clean slate offered here. More ice time and better opportunities don’t come often to a career third or fourth line player. In a sense, Vegas offers each player more than just playing time and low taxes. It’s a chance to make a serious impact in a city without stars like Crosby, Stamkos or Doughty.

Half the fanbase in Las Vegas will know the players and their career. In some cities Dale Weise would get questioned about his underachieving career. In Las Vegas, Weise will be asked if he’s ate at Lindo Michoacán yet. It’s a free pass for everyone with a past. In a way, Las Vegas doesn’t really care about what anyone did before. That alone is enough of a draw for some players to secretly pray to be on the move.

Now other teams may be slightly rocky after the expansion drama. I’m sure the Senators will send Bobby Ryan a care package with potpourri and soft rock mix tapes after McPhee passes. After the expansion draft, 30 other teams will be spending the summer repairing relationships. In Vegas, it’ll be nothing but free lunches, meet and greets and goofy questions from the That alone is a reason any player should embrace expansion.

Guest Post: The Beezer is Buzzing About Vegas

Time for another Guest Post. Today’s submission comes all the way from the other side of the country in this magical place called New Jersey. Our guy Chris was able to track down former Rangers and Panthers goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck and ask some questions about expansion, Vegas, and more. Written by Chris Rauch.

“They are set up to have a lot of success.”

Let’s face it: when expansion teams get off the ground they are usually abysmal. The Washington Capitals won 8 games their first year in the league. It took the Columbus Blue Jackets nearly 10 years to make the playoffs for the first time. One exception to the futility rule are the Florida Panthers. It took only three years for the team to reach the Stanley Cup finals – thanks, in part, to the first player chosen in the 1993 expansion draft: goaltender John “The Beezer” Vanbiesbrouck.

The days of terrible expansion teams may be in the rear view mirror thanks to the new NHL draft rules which will give the Golden Knights access to the best talent pool an expansion team has ever seen. General manager George McPhee will have a lot on his plate, and Vanbiesbrouck is confident that the team is in good hands with McPhee at the helm.

Vanbiesbrouck and McPhee have also known each other for a long time. The two played for the New York Rangers back in the ‘80s. Currently, Vanbiesbrouck is the General Manager for the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Muskegon Lumberjacks, a top Tier 1 junior team in Western Michigan.

“Look at the job he’s done with the Capitals,” says Vanbiesbrouck, “That still lives on with that team right now. I just believe that George and his crew…are set up to have a lot of success. His Director of Scouting [Scott Luce] is one of the best in the game. I’ve known him for a long time and he’s great at finding great talent.”

Drafting in a salary cap era may be tricky, but “The Beezer” feels there will be enough talent to go around when the draft gets underway in June – especially for goaltenders. “They are probably going to start with a goalie. If a guy like (Marc-Andre) Fleury is available with Stanley Cup winning experience and a lot of gas still in the tank it will be hard to look past him.”

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McPhee’s Plans May Not Match The Owner’s In Terms Of When To Win

Everybody’s got their own ideas on how to build the Golden Knights, how good to make them out of the gate, and how long it should take to bring Lord Stanley’s Cup to The Valley of Hockey (not letting that nickname die…yet).

However, there’s only one man who really controls the answers to those three questions, George McPhee. The problem is, I’m not so sure he and his boss are on the exact same page.

I have never said I’m going to be patient about winning (laughter). I think that our General Manager has maybe expressed that he wants to build from the ground up and he wants to build from the draft forward, I’ve always said my goal is playoffs in three and Stanley Cup in six. –The Creator on The Vegas Hockey Hotline

Read that how you may, but before you make up your mind, let me throw in another straw to stir up the drink.

When George McPhee was hired on July 13th no contract details were made available. No dollar amount, no term length, nothing. Maybe it’s because no one asked, right?

So, three weeks ago I sent in an inquiry to the Golden Knights asking for the information. I was quickly told that most NHL GM’s salaries are not made public, which is true. But term length is a different story, that’s made public by many organizations. See Pittsburgh, Montreal, and Chicago to name a few. So how long is McPhee’s contract?

We will not be disclosing the term length -Eric Tosi, VP of Communications

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