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First Vegas: Inaugural Trip Memories For Vegas Staff Members

The first time in Vegas is unlike any other experience in one’s life. It’s better than getting the first promotion (still never happened for me), it’s better than having kids (I wouldn’t know), and it’s definitely better than getting married (overrated, Miss Abby is gonna kill me). The virgin trip to Vegas is one of the most memorable moments in the life of everyone.

That fact is why I’m questioning the merit of one of the first hires on the Las Vegas front office staff. Check this out…

How many times have you been to Las Vegas? –Matt Cauz, TSN Radio Host

Never. -David Conte, Las Vegas Special Advisor to Hockey Operations

WTF? Never been to Las Vegas!?! Dude is 68 years old, what’s he waiting for?

So it got me thinking, is everyone on this staff this weird?

I’ve only ever been there for WHL governors meetings. We have our semi-annual meeting there and that’s only been a couple of days. I’ve never been off the strip. –Kelly McCrimmon, Assistant GM

Eh, semi-weird. Moving on.

My first trip was with the Vancouver Canucks [as director of hockey operations]. Pat Quinn just wanted the team to have a break on one of our trips. I was amazed then at the Strip. At all the activity and how beautiful the buildings were and the hotels. Once we got here, we didn’t see the players for two days. As a staff, we had some great dinners. We actually saw Anne Murray in concert — Canadians watching a Canadian. I think the best experience here was actually a family vacation. The league was having GM meetings at Lake Las Vegas so I came out earlier with my wife and my first two kids. It might have been one of the best vacations we’ve ever had. [My kids] were at that age where you could take them to different hotels with different themes, whether it was the tigers at one place or the aquariums at another. Taking them to a magician show or taking my daughter to “Mama Mia.” My kids had a blast. –George McPhee, GM

That’s pretty normal, but still not quite the Vegas trip we’re looking for.

The first time I visited we stayed at the Riviera. I’m not much of a gambler, but love watching the table games, so I watched (and maybe had a drink or two) as my roommate played cards, and most nights we went out for Korean BBQ. I convinced her to go to the Grand Canyon one of the days, so we took the bus tour for the four plus hours. It was rainy and cold, but still amazing. -Katy Boettinger, Director of Hockey Administration

Here we go, now we are really starting to find some regular people.

I’d been here 6-8 times before coming for the ticket drive. -Todd Pollock, VP of Ticketing

Standard Vegas visits? Gambling, drinking, having Vegas-esque fun? -Me

Precisely. -Pollock

And we finally found him.

My first trip was pretty much the standard. I don’t drink, so I spent most of the time playing craps and handing my free drinks out to the people around me. Years later, I married one of those people, though if she ever sees this article I’m sure I’ll be single again soon.

Time for you guys to share, let’s hear about your first trips to Vegas. Anyone else like Conte, never been here? Any McCrimmon’s who have only been here for work? Or are you all normal people like George, Katy, and especially Todd? Post em in the comments.

I’ll try and reach out to a few more of the newer hires and see if we can get some more stories as well. Plus, we’ll revisit this in a few years and we’ll do the “how do you view Vegas now” story, though I’m pretty sure I know how that one will go.


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  1. Ron Murphy

    1975…moved here to start working at KORK radio…midnight-to-6…saw Ann Margaret at the Hilton on the company 2nd night…saw the “lovable lush” Foster Brooks out walking and Norm Crosby at McDonalds the first week town…’course the town was 250,000 then…never got use to a year of working all night before switching to 7pm-midnight…gamblers would call all night for scores off the teletype…truly was the good old days when the mob ran the hotels…cheap food and everyone was courteous

  2. pfh64

    I was in LV for five hours. ASU was playing Cal in Berkley. I was the sports director for the college radio station and we were broadcasting the one road game a year we were allowed to do. Our plane tickets were cheaper if we stopped in LV. So we did.

    I am not and never was a gambler (although I do play fantasy football <$100), but I walked into McCarron and first I noticed the slot machines. Then I noticed the place was eat off the floor clean. Walked out of airport with $100 dollars, almost lost it. Won back enough to pay for a meal and a cab ride and walked back on the plane with $100, so I won.

    That's my only LV experience.

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