Every once in a while I do a sweep of the Internet to find out what people are saying about a potential NHL team being placed in Las Vegas. Some are positive takes, some negative, that’s just fine, but it’s the incorrect ones that tend to get me fired up. Here’s the latest one…
Las Vegas is a place unlike any other in the United States. That doesn’t mean a hockey franchise will be successful there. People go to Vegas on vacation. They gamble, engage in debauchery, drink, and bet on sporting events. A professional team in the midst of all that would confuse things. Plus I don’t ever want to see showgirls cleaning the ice during commercial breaks and performing between periods. Lastly, there is no hockey “culture” in that city. Sports culture begins and ends on the UNLV campus during the NCAA basketball tournament. – Nava Brahe, TheSportsFanJournal.com
I’ve come to terms with the stereotype arguments against Vegas. It’s a tourist town, it’s in the desert, everyone there does drugs, the stupid “Happens In Vegas” quotes about strippers and paychecks, and whatever else people want to say about Sin City in the comments section of Reddit, ESPN, or any other NHL article.
But this one brings up something completely new that just isn’t true.
While it’s accurate to say there is not a hockey culture in Las Vegas, it’s also a city without a team. Did Columbus, Tampa, Nashville, or even L.A. have a hockey culture before the team showed up? There’s not a culture today, but believe you me, there will be when the puck finally hits the ice.
However, I can even let that slide. It’s the last part that really angers me. Las Vegas has one of the strongest sports cultures in the world. We love all sports because they are an investment opportunity and a fun one at that. Sports gambling is taboo in this country, so everyone always gets a little nervous when discussing it. But in Nevada, it’s 100% legal and because of it, sports knowledge in this city is vast.
Our culture may not be the same as other traditional cities, but to say the culture ends with UNLV is ridiculous. Walk through an off-strip sports book any night of the week and you’ll instantly realize that this is absolutely a sports town.
Tourists and out-of-towners think that the NCAA Tournament and the Super Bowl are the only times this place cares about sports. When really it’s simply a psychological fallacy (stay with me here). Vegas gets a ton of publicity during these two events because of the gambling aspect. So, when people think of those events, they think of Vegas. When they think of other events, they don’t think of Vegas. Therefore, they come to the conclusion that Vegas doesn’t care about anything other than those two events.
It’s obviously not true and anyone with a brain can understand why their mind tricks them into thinking it. There IS a sports culture in Las Vegas, and a damn good one at that. We already know it, it’s now time to let the rest of the country see that just because we are different doesn’t mean we aren’t passionate.