Here at SinBin.vegas we only refer to Bill Foley as The Creator. It’s our little joke to try and give the man as much credit as we can for what he’s doing, and what he will have done when the NHL becomes Las Vegas’ first ever professional franchise.
But calling him The Creator and referring to him as a God-like figure on the site doesn’t even begin to explain how perfect this man is to be the owner of an NHL franchise.
Dana and I had the incredible privilege of having lunch with Mr. Foley yesterday and I wanted to take a moment to share the experience. First of all, this is a man worth multiple billion dollars, and he came to the small and quaint O’Aces Bar and ate lunch with us for over an hour. That in itself should explain the kind of man he is, but showing up and sticking around is the least impressive trait he exuded.
He’s soft spoken, calculated, and direct. But he’s inclusive, listens intently, and respects what others have to say. The man has it all, and he’s about to join an exclusive club of 31 most of us can’t even dream of being in, yet he genuinely cared what I had to say. I’d make suggestions, and he’d to take them to heart, or at least gave off the impression he did. Never once did I feel intimidated or shut down. He listened and his expression stayed steady, and focused on the one thing he really cares about.
That one thing…bringing the Stanley Cup to Las Vegas. We talked about the financial aspect of sports, the infrastructure of creating a franchise, minor league affiliates, team names, you name it, we touched on it, but his passion continuously went back to the same quote, “I just want to win.”
And what’s even better is after and hour speaking with him, I really really want him to win. And it’s not because I’ve built him up to be The Creator, the fact the site will have more success if the team wins, or even the simple fact I’m planning on being a diehard fan of his franchise. No, none of it mattered while we were sitting at that table eating our hamburgers (ok fine, I had pizza). I forgot about my fandom. I forgot about the site. I forgot about anything that had to do with me, or you, or Dana, or anyone else for that matter. All I cared about was him. I found, find, and will continue finding myself rooting for this team to win so Bill Foley wins. I truly want to see the look on his face when he gets his hands on the Cup for the first time.
We spoke specifically about the $500 million price tag which is outrageously high, and he simply didn’t care. He just wants his team so he can start the trek to bringing home the Cup. But it wasn’t an “I’m rich, so I don’t care” attitude. It was more of a humble “It’s ok, I’ve worked hard to get to this point, now let’s have some fun.”
People often talk about others as being “someone I’d run through a wall for.” That’s Bill Foley. His organization will love him. His players will adore him, and hopefully this article is the beginning of his fans getting to know how amazing this guy really is.
Now I know some will say I’m just doing this to curry favor with the most powerful man in Las Vegas hockey, and that’s fine, but it’s not the case. I spent just an hour with him, and felt compelled to share what I learned about a man I’ve written about for almost a year now in my first meeting with him.
If you could mold the perfect owner, this is your guy. He really has everything you can ask for, and he’s doing this for the right reason. Bill Foley sees the NHL as his toy. He’s fallen in love with hockey, and he’s positioned himself in life to be lucky enough to be a part of it.
But he’s humble. He’s deliberate, and he appears ready to take this organization to the highest level in a very short period of time. I know my time with him was short, but my observations confirmed everything I’ve heard and read about him throughout the entire time I’ve covered the team.
There are a lot of things to worry about when it comes to the success of an expansion franchise, especially one heading to a city that’s never had a major sports team before.
But if there’s one thing you don’t have to worry about, it’s the owner.