The Henderson Silver Knights’ new $84 million home on Green Valley Parkway is 85% complete.
The team invited members of the media on a tour of the facility today and it looks like it’s going to be a tremendous place to watch hockey, football, basketball, concerts and so much more.
The ice rink had been laid and each of the 6,000 seats have been placed with the building set to be ready for the Big West Basketball Tournament in March and then the Silver Knights’ first home game on April 2nd.
Here are a collection of pictures and videos from today’s tour.
In their four years of existence, the Golden Knights have taught the fans of Vegas many lessons. The chief among them is just how incredibly difficult it is to be the last team standing at the end of the season. But along those lines, one of the biggest reasons for that is the current format of the playoffs in the NHL.
In four seasons, the Golden Knights have participated in the playoffs every year. They’ve seen two different playoff formats, finished atop the division twice, and have come in second and third the other two years. Each season, the playoffs have proven to be a much different animal than the regular season and as we head into VGK’s 5th season, it’s never been clearer how invaluable the 82-game season is.
The Golden Knights are the third betting favorite to win the Stanley Cup at William Hill, they are the runaway favorites to win the Pacific Division, and they are widely expected to eclipse 90 points with ease. The problem is, the current format of the playoffs doesn’t really reward a team for dominating in the postseason, especially when you play in the worst division.
For winning the Pacific, the Golden Knights’ “reward” would be a first-round date with the 4th place team from the Pacific or, more likely, the 5th place team from the Central. The division winners get four home games while the wild card team gets three. It’s a massive grind just to win one series, let alone four, and the benefits of being the best team over an 82-game season are minimal at best. Simply put, the regular season is majorly undervalued, and this needs to change.
The AHL has rolled out a new format for their playoffs, which could potentially be the first step towards a change in the NHL. The Calder Cup playoffs will now include 23 teams with nine getting first-round byes. In one division, the top two teams in the standings at the end of the year automatically skip the first round and await the winner of a best-of-three series between the teams finishing 3rd to 6th. In another division (the one the Silver Knights play in), only the top team in the division gets a bye while six others must fight for their spot in a best-of-three. And in the last two divisions, the top three get byes while two others play to reach the divisional semis.
Usually, I’m against expanding the postseason as it normally devalues the regular season, but adding byes massively changes the importance of the regular season for the top teams, especially in the Pacific where only the division winner is rewarded.
In all four divisions, there’s a cut line to make the playoffs and there’s another cut line to earn a bye. This creates more competition amongst the top teams in the league, which is excellent for both fans and players. There are pros and cons to each division’s layout in the AHL, each of which we will get to see play out over the course of this season.
Imagine how different this regular season would feel if the Golden Knights had to win the division to earn a bye. The NHL’s regular season needs a facelift and the AHL may have just handed them the blueprint.
While the Golden Knights continue preparations for fan-less hockey in the “Phase 4 Secure Zone,” the Silver Knights have their focus set sorting out the 9,000+ fans with season ticket deposits.
Fans who committed $50 per seat towards a refundable season ticket deposit are being invited to Orleans Arena early next week to convert those deposits into seats.
Seats start at just $10 per game with the most expensive tickets reaching $99 and the average landing around $30 for season ticket holders.
The Orleans Arena and the Silver Knights are taking heavy COVID-19 related precautions with the seat selection process. Everyone entering the arena must fill out a waiver assuming risk. Only one person is allowed to enter per ticket account and the process is spread out over multiple days to limit the risk number of people there at any time. Masks are required and temperature checks will be conducted upon check-in.
The Silver Knights were expected to begin their inaugural campaign at Orleans Arena in the AHL’s 2020-21 season scheduled to begin in October. However, all dates remain up in the air as we continue to deal with the pandemic.
That being said, the simple fact that the Silver Knights are moving forward with seat selection is a good sign there is hope the 20-21 season will happen with fans in the seats.
The team has been purchased and relocated, it now has a name and an awesome logo, and in a few years, the Henderson Silver Knights will be playing their games in an $80 million arena on the corner of Green Valley and Paseo Verde parkways.
I believe this Henderson Arena is going to rival T-Mobile but be better in many ways. It’s going to be more compact and more user-friendly. -The Creator
For anyone who loves hockey, the idea of bringing another professional hockey team to the valley sounds amazing. But, for those who live and work in the area, there are concerns. Namely, traffic.
The area where the Henderson Pavilion currently sits is widely regarded as one of the most congested spots in all of Henderson. Now, the plan is to drag 6,000 more people in, 50+ times a year, without making any significant changes to the physical roadways in the area.
According to the CEO of the traffic consulting firm Ludian LLC, the solution to relieving any added traffic is simple, install “adaptive traffic systems,” or in laymen’s terms, better, smarter stoplights.
With any event, be it sporting or entertainment, traffic is always going to have a preconceived negative connotation. What the adaptive traffic systems aims to do is not allow the traffic to detract from the overall experience, I’m confident of this. -Ian Machen, CEO, Ludian LLC
So is the City of Henderson and the owner of the Henderson Silver Knights.
People should not be concerned about noise or traffic congestion. It just isn’t going to happen. -The Creator
No new lanes, no traffic cops, no special event traffic pattern, nothing. Just new lights.
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.
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.