One of the best aspects of sport is rivalry. There’s nothing better than a mutual hatred between two organizations who get to prove their worth on the battlefield.
With an NHL franchise will eventually come NHL rivalries. Will it be location based? Performance based (say a team we beat three straight years in the playoffs)? Or will it be something completely different?
Let’s start with location. The obvious candidates would be Phoenix, L.A., and Anaheim. Phoenix is already writing headlines for when they beat a Vegas team named the Scorpions. L.A. would be fun to hate just based on the fact all people from California seemingly can’t drive. Is it just me or does it seem like things like turn signals, changing lanes, stopping at stop signs, etc. are just too difficult of tasks for people with California license plates? And Anaheim because they just suck (you mad?).
Performance based rivalries are great, but they are slow developing. It will take some time before our squad is established enough to form these types of rivalries. A few trips to the playoffs, a few feisty games, a few solid off the ice quips via the media will help, but these things aren’t immediate.
It’s that something else category that will really help to form our first rivalry, and I’m going to tell you exactly what that something is.
Annoying visiting fans.
Because Vegas is “The Entertainment Capital of the World” fans from every NHL city will flock to the valley to watch their beloved losers. It’ll be the team that sends the loudest, rowdiest, most annoying fans to fill up Las Vegas Arena that will become the first Vegas rival.
My guess is Chicago. They’ll come parading in to town with their “I had the Polish sausage” Midwest accents, inability to feel cold weather, and three championships and annoy you to the high heavens. Obviously, those rings are null and void because they were won in a pre-Vegas NHL, but I digress.
Being a transient city, Las Vegas will constantly fight the uphill battle of creating a home field advantage. We’ll support our team, but it’s going to be hard to keep tourists out of the building. Those tourists are going to create our rivalries, and it’s going to be a blast sending them back home not only with empty wallets from the blackjack tables, but also with a big fat L on their favorites teams’ schedule.