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Category: AHL

City Of Henderson Set To Commit Up To $42 Million Towards Construction Of AHL Arena

The City of Henderson and the Vegas Golden Knights are set to take the final step in approving the construction of a 6,000-seat arena to house the AHL franchise coming to Vegas/Henderson.

At the May 19th Henderson City Council meeting, the council will be presented with an agenda item to enter into a financial agreement between the city and SK Arena LLC, a limited liability company set up by the Vegas Golden Knights to build and operate the arena.

Photo credit: City of Henderson Powerpoint Presentation for May 19th meeting

If approved, the agreement will call for each party to commit $40 million to the project plus an additional $2 million toward contingencies. That means the arena is expected to cost $80 million with the City of Henderson and the Vegas Golden Knights entering into an agreement to split the cost 50/50.

The city’s proposal includes $25 million to be taken from the $60 million bond that was approved on April 21st. The remaining money will be allocated from the Henderson redevelopment agency ($16 million) and from insurance proceeds ($1 million).

According to the proposed agreement, construction of the arena must begin no later than August 1st, 2020, and the AHL team is expected to play their home games in the arena for the 2022-23 season.

The lease calls for an annual rent of $150,000 with a 2% increase each year. The lease term is 20 years which means the rent will be around $218,000 in the final year.

All references to the Golden Knights portion of the agreement are listed as SK Arena LLC or SK Team LLC. These companies were filed by Golden Knights attorneys in November 2019 and June 2019 respectively.

As we’ve been reporting since the news broke that the AHL was coming to Henderson, the team name will be the Henderson Silver Knights. SK Arena and SK Team are just another set of clues hinting towards that name.

The construction agreement will be approved at the Henderson City Council’s May 19th meeting scheduled to begin at 10:30 am.

Henderson Blank Blanks Hiring

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Despite the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, the Golden Knights organization is moving forward with the process of hiring a plethora of positions for the AHL team coming to Vegas/Henderson.

Teamwork Online, the leading site for employment in sports, currently has five jobs listed for the “Henderson AHL Team.”

  • Coordinator, Corporate Partnerships
  • Director, Marketing and Community Relations
  • Director, Game Presentation
  • Director, Broadcasting and Communications
  • Coordinator, Content Creation

With each job posting is a section called “our culture.”

  • No ego, ‘We’ not ‘Me’ approach to everything we do
  • Positive energy
  • Relentless work ethic
  • Always advance

The positions of head and assistant athletic trainers were also listed last week but are no longer accepting applications.

Expect many more positions to open up on that page over the next few weeks and months as the team gears up to start playing in Vegas/Henderson soon.

City Of Henderson Responds To AHL Arena Detractors

Photo credit: City of Henderson Virtual Town Hall on May 6th, 2020

Like it or not, the AHL is coming to Henderson and a 6,000 seat arena will be built on the site of the existing Henderson Pavilion. Many Henderson residents have voiced their opinions over the past few months since the project was announced. Yesterday, the City of Henderson conducted a “virtual town hall” in which they attempted to respond to as many of the concerns their citizens have over the project.

The two-hour town hall, which was hosted virtually using Cisco Webex, took on concerns over traffic, infrastructure, parking, job creation, timing, building operations, and a few more topics.

The most time was spent on traffic, an issue that was of major concern when the city hosted three consecutive public meetings back in March. The city’s presented solution was initially to build a tunnel to alleviate traffic coming and going from the arena, but that idea was nixed and now they believe any traffic congestion can be solved with the installation of new “adaptive” traffic lights.

An expert spent about 20 minutes explaining the benefits of the modern traffic lights that respond to traffic patterns in real-time.

Increasing people in the area drives an increase in traffic and congestion. The real solution to that is adaptive traffic signals which control the flow of traffic. The signals detect the presence of vehicles at the stop line and approaching the intersections. This system then allows progression through that road network. -Ian Machen, CEO of Ludian (traffic signal expert)

The other topic that took up the majority of the presentation was parking. A study showed that a 6,000 seat stadium would need about 1,200 to 1,400 on-site parking spaces to accommodate all attendees and arena employees.

They indicated that not only can they fit that number of spaces in the existing area, but they can do it without the construction of a multi-level parking structure and without disturbing the nearby library or multigenerational center.

Photo credit: City of Henderson Virtual Town Hall on May 6th, 2020

We looked at the event venue itself and the area around it as to what is the availability. We generally tested out the square footage and land area and determined that depending on landscaping and the configuration of the roadways that there is the feasibility in the planning level of obtaining 1,200 to 1,400 car spaces with the border of the site.  -Ken Ackeret, Principal of Kimley Horn (parking expert)

In addition to the town hall, the city released an economic impact study conducted by Applied Analysis to show the job creation that will result from the construction of the arena.

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Projecting The Future Henderson Silver Knights

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We’ve discussed countless times the future of the NHL roster including free agents such as Robin Lehner, Ryan Reaves, Deryk Engelland, and others, but the look of AHL roster is a different story.

With the minor league affiliate moving to Henderson, it’s likely that we’ll all want to be a little more familiar with the everyday roster than many were when they were in Chicago. So, I decided to look at all three positions and attempt to project who will be on the AHL roster when the league starts up the 2020-21 season. Then, at the end, I take a stab at guessing the first lineup the Silver Knights roll out when they step on the ice for the first time at Orleans Arena.

(Also, since this is a projection article, I’m using the name Henderson Silver Knights. Of all projections in this article, that’s the one I’m most confident about getting right.)

Bold = Projected to be on roster
* = Signed AHL contract

Forwards

Under Contract: Jonas Rondbjerg, Jake Leschyshyn, Lucas Elvenes, Brandon Pirri, Paul Cotter, Ben Jones, Patrick Brown, Tyrell Goulbourne
RFA: Reid Duke, Gage Quinney, Keegan Kolesar
UFA: Curtis McKenzie, Valentin Zykov, Tye McGinn*, Jermaine Loewen*
Unsigned: Jack Dugan

There aren’t too many question marks surrounding the group of forwards that will be with the Silver Knights next season. There are eight forwards under contract and most are expected to at least start the season in the AHL. Elvenes is the one that may potentially push in camp to make the NHL roster, but with the logjam of forwards currently on the Golden Knights, Elvenes’ waiver-exempt status likely means he’s wearing silver instead of gold when camp breaks. Pirri is an interesting case with the team moving to Henderson. One of the biggest benefits to the Vegas organization to Pirri was the fact that if he’s not in the NHL, he’s in Chicago, closer to his family. He has one year left on his deal, so he doesn’t have a ton of power, but it wouldn’t be shocking if he politely asks for a trade, one Vegas would likely grant.

The RFA class is an interesting one as all three have been recalled to the NHL during their time with the Wolves and Quinney and Kolesar both made NHL appearances. No reason to let any of the three of them walk. Don’t really see a place on the NHL roster for any of them straight out of camp though.

Dugan is a bit of a wild card as we would have expected a contract to have been signed by now if he were indeed ready to leave college. There’s no rush with the sports world paused, so it still could get done any day (which I expect to eventually happen), but every day that passes has to make you wonder a little more if he’s headed back to Providence. In the end, he’s a pro player, and he should be a Silver Knight next season.

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AHL Arena In Henderson Facing Opposition

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

Things aren’t looking quite as golden, or should I say silver, as they did a few months ago when the Golden Knights took over the state of Henderson address announcing the construction of a 6,000 seat stadium.

The plan is to replace the current Henderson Pavilion with a state of the art hockey arena to serve as the permanent home of the AHL team The Creator recently purchased. The team was set to practice at the new facility being built on Water St., play at Orleans Arena for the next few years, and then move to the future arena on the corner of Green Valley and Paseo Verde.

Obviously, the shutdown of the league, and the world for that matter, caused by the coronavirus will present some challenges, but the issues go well beyond that in the eyes of many Henderson residents.

Stories recently published on KNPR and in the Review-Journal show Henderson and the Golden Knights appear to have different ideas than those who live and work in the arena.

Basically there were three meetings, they were hour-long meetings, exact same presentation. Packed packed meeting rooms and long lines to get to the next one… This wasn’t really a meeting in support of this hockey team and this new venue that would support it, these were people who seemed pretty concerned about this new venue in their neighborhood. -Mike Prevatt, KNPR

The issues range from minor to major with the minor ones surrounding traffic and parking while the major issue wondering about the way in which the city is going about making the arena a reality and how much of the money to pay for it is coming out of Henderson residents’ pockets.

Mayor Debra March has said Henderson would pay for half the building with up to $40 million in public money, but the city has since backed off that figure, saying the cost has not been determined. -Blake Apgar, LVRJ

The proposal is expected to be brought to the city council officially on May 19th according to the RJ.

Normally concerns voiced by the people end up holding little weight when it comes to the construction of arenas and the decisions to publicly finance them. However, the current state of the world is likely to at least throw a bit of a wrench into the works for the Golden Knights and their AHL plans.

What seemed like a slam dunk a few months ago may not look so clear when the question of spending $40 million on an arena comes up in a little over a month’s time.

Concerns of traffic, parking, and infrastructure, while probably all fair and valid now, will likely be answered as more plans are unveiled, but the financial aspect of the project will remain uncertain, to say the least.

Golden Knights Purchase AHL Franchise, Relocating Them To Las Vegas/Henderson

The Golden Knights have purchased the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL and pending the expected approval from the AHL’s Board of Governor’s, they will be relocated to Las Vegas/Henderson for the 2020-21 season.

Though it was not announced formally today, the team is expected to play at The Orleans Arena next season and stay for either two or three years. The plan is then for the team to move to a new arena, yet to begin construction, in Henderson.

The AHL team is expected to be named the Henderson Silver Knights and they will practice at Lifeguard Arena in Henderson, the new public rink being built on Water Street.

By every relevant metric, the growth of the game here the last few years at all levels has been remarkable. We could not be more proud to bring a second professional hockey club to the Valley to accelerate this growth even further. -The Creator

The Golden Knights will end their affiliation with the Chicago Wolves at the conclusion of this season and will bring all players under Golden Knights contract with them to the new affiliate in Las Vegas/Henderson.

This move will effectively centralize our hockey operations and streamline our processes in terms of player development, scouting, transfers and staffing. -George McPhee

The Golden Knights are currently accepting refundable season ticket deposits of $50 for the AHL franchise. They can be purchased at this link with current season ticket holders receiving priority access in the seat selection process.

Why Did Toronto Trade Garret Sparks to Vegas?

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

While there’s no question who’s the number one goaltender in Las Vegas, talking heads in Eastern Canada are busy speculating if goalie Garret Sparks can someday be the numero uno on an NHL team.

“It’s very possible. Based on what I saw last year, I don’t think he has that potential. This is a guy who’s had great success in the minor league. He came into a very pressured situation in Toronto… he was thrown into a role, maybe a role he wasn’t ready for.”-Carlo Colaiacovo, Former NHL’er and analyst on TSN 690 Montreal

Sparks was acquired earlier this month via trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs, in exchange for a fourth round pick and David Clarkson’s dead money.

On surface it looked like a minor move to create some financial wiggle room for each team. What was lost in the deal was the expectations Vegas may or may not have for Sparks. We know George McPhee doesn’t like leaving a swap meet without a bargain, maybe the backup from Toronto was more than an impulse buy.

“With Dubas being a Sparks guy, because he had him in the minors. He groomed him. You never thought it would be a possibility but clearly he was a guy that they were willing to part with.”-Colaiacovo

For the past two seasons, when healthy Malcolm Subban has been Marc-Andre Fleury’s backup. Subban is 25-years-old and has never started more than 20 games in a season. Sparks is a little older and has less experience but let’s face it, he was brought in to compete for Fleury’s relief role. Like he did last year in Toronto. After a hot start to the season the former Maple Leaf created buzz around the fan base.

Here’s an excerpt from an article written last week by SportsNet’s Mike Johnston:

Sparks made 20 appearances this past season. During his first 10 outings the Elmhurst, Ill., native went an impressive 6-2-1 despite posting a less-than-stellar .905 save percentage.

In early January, though, he took a puck off his head at practice that resulted in a concussion and his season went downhill from there.

“I felt I was finally starting to build some momentum and get my chance,” Sparks said. “I just felt like I got cut down, and it’s hard to regrow after you get your progress chopped off like that.”

His final 10 appearances were rough as he went 2-7-0 with a .899 save percentage and eventually wore out his welcome.-Sportsnet.com

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VGK’s Young Stars Dominate In Wolves Debut

As fun as it was to watch the Golden Knights stun the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center, the game down the road in Austin, TX was probably a better indication of the direction the Golden Knights future is heading.

In the first game as the AHL affiliate for the Golden Knights, the Chicago Wolves got a hat trick from Alex Tuch and some guy named Shea Theodore put up a goal and two assists as well. Sound familiar?

Watch the highlights, it’s basically a window into Golden Knights future, and boy is it bright.

The full box score is all sorts of glorious for Tuch, Theodore, Pulkkinen, and even the newest Golden Knight Brandon Pirri.

This season is going to feel long at times for the NHL club cause let’s be real, they ain’t all going to go like that one y’all. (Sorry, this whole Texas thing is getting to me) But this season is about more than the Golden Knights on the ice at T-Mobile, and catching a Wolves game every now and then might be a nice pick me up.

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