It seem’s not everyone is as optimistic as SinBin.vegas. And the sad part is, doubters everywhere aren’t doubting expansion, they’re doubting Las Vegas. Nothing new. Are they making good arguments? Are their concerns for real? Let’s break it down.
Covers.com is one of my favorite websites, especially during hockey season. The hockey forum is filled with intriguing conversations that gets all sorts of hockey fans chiming in. Currently, the most amusing thread was started from a Flyers fan trying to argue that Sidney Crosby is not an elite player. Pretty clueless huh? However, that’s not the intelligent banter I’m talking about.
The forum board lit up this week after the Associated Press echoed our reports. Some commenters were glowing with positivity while others were still unsure. One continuous complaint was about the name the Black Knights. While some argue the Las Vegas Black Knights is a mouthful, it really shouldn’t matter because that’s what The Creator wants. The team name is up to the owner, and frankly it should be, remember this part of the deal. Fan votes usually come up with something lame, like the Raptors or Rubber Puckies. After I explained to the forum that Las Vegas will go by the nickname the Knights, some changed their tune. The Mets don’t go by the Metropolitans, no one calls the Knicks the Knickerbockers, and same with the Athletics. Going by the Knights will make things less clunky for pessimists.
Now came the juicy stuff. The comments and concerns we’ve been hearing for years. Can Las Vegas be a successful NHL town? It’s nothing new, but some people just can’t get over it. Is it because skeptics think Quebec is more deserving? Maybe. Or is it because visitors of Las Vegas sometimes think they know the city more than locals? The continuous arguments from outsiders about the Wranglers and Thunder failing don’t pass the smell test. Of course it looked like the Wranglers failed, but really it was a combination of a casino wanting to make more money and the lack of ice. The Wranglers really had nowhere to go after the Orleans Casino sent them packing. Was it a bad deal for hockey fans? Sure, but it had nothing to do with the hockey culture in Las Vegas.
Moving past Covers, more profiled detractors like ESPN’s Linda Cohn voiced her concern on Twitter.
Looks like NHL wanted to beat NFL to Las Vegas. Putting a team in Vegas is one thing. Selling it is another. Big gamble. No pun intended.
— Linda Cohn (@lindacohn) June 14, 2016
As much as I like, and appreciate the die-hard Rangers fan I have to wonder where this tweet is coming from. What does “selling the team” mean? Selling 14,000+ season tickets? Or selling out T-Mobile luxury suites? Or even selling SinBin.vegas T-Shirts? I got ya there Linda, women’s medium sound good? Oh, and when can we stop with the pun-intended/not intended thing? Everyone gets it, there are casinos here.
You see, it’s not that people are against the Knights, or really even Las Vegas. The pessimists are just concerned for things they shouldn’t be concerned with. The NHL and The Creator have done their research on Las Vegas for years. Let them stress about filling seats in 2020. It’s a waste of time to distress about team finances, or a dedicated fanbase. Let Foley and the people of Las Vegas worry about that.
Meanwhile, the smart people… we’ll be concerned with more important issues, like who will be starting game one, Freddy Andersen or Ben Bishop.
For years I have always hated the argument about Vegas not being able to support a team. In the case of hockey, people often say 17,500 is a lot of people. When I quantify it by saying a sell out attendance is less than 1% of the total population, not factoring visitors, people tend to back off a little.
Keep up the good work!
Vegas might be the best state for people coming on vacations which helps attending games… Also my friend tells me its crazy more money is spent on food and shows… You just have to ask people how many new hockey fans would a team in Quebec City add when Quebec already has Montreal… Is anybody in Canada going to suddenly become a hockey fan? Like are people in Quebec going to be like I’m going to try this hockey thing I heard about ;). You don’t gain 1 hockey fan putting a team there for example ;). Other cities can complain all they want, none will pay up the 500M :). I remember some girl from LA saying how Brown needs a big raise a few years ago :). People that write about sports don’t seem to know anything anymore :)…
Hehe I will bet on Sergei Bobrovsky starting for Vegas since Russians love Gambling pun intended :). I don’t see CBJ able to sustain a 7.5M cap hit on him unless he has an amazing season. Besides they already signed Forsberg to a 2 year 2 way deal while having Joonas in net. Their new coach Tortz has a way of driving players away from the team too :).
Having so many people from different parts should help selling tickets.. Wild might have a decent team though the tickets when they played Islanders were much cheaper to buy than Ducks or Kings. Even in Toronto I saw a girl having trouble selling them in a hockey city with them chasing the Post Season last year at time ;).
I’m sure that girl from ESPN would ask if Manon should be in the HOF for being a female goalie :). Either way Bishop had a NMC in a state like Florida not charging taxes so I think he will stay… Maybe Vasi would end up on Vegas as the younger goalie behind Sergei though for the Russians :). Even if Fleury ends up in Calgary he might still end up exposed in the Expansion Draft… I don’t think CBJ can find a team who can afford the former Vezina Sergei’s cap hit. So Vegas taking him only having to play 6.5M/6.3M for 2 years to see what he has left can sustain the cap hit.
Quebec is small, it don’t help grow hockey… Hamilton or Halifax would be more logical if Canada ever gets another team. I am old enough to remember them being a failed franchise who wanted to switch to those stupid Husky Dog looking uniforms ;). Let Montreal move to Quebec if they want a team bad enough :). Houston would have a team maybe if the owner of NBA team decided he wants via the lease… KC built an arena though the NHL fans there are supposedly very low in numbers. Portland would be interesting, Seattle is having the Port block them for 3 years… Deadspin had a story how that 4-3 vote kept them from moving Coyotes there as a possible relocation… They would have played in Key Arena for 3 years hoping to get a new arena by then. Look how Sharks played at Cow Palace after years earlier it wasn’t seen as viable for NHL until they built the Shark Cage ;). Kings renamed that place when they beat them in Post Season from the Tank… I do call the Knicks the Knickerbockers just for the record… Seattle always used th long name on their hockey team while the Mets never do ;).
Problem with Black Knights besides the BK jokes… Is if it becomes like Black Hawks went to Blackhawks… It would be Blacknights or Blackknights the double K or single both would look a bit off… So they would be better just being the Knights but either way guy spending 1 billion bucks can name them anything. Nobody had to pay for the Arena it was all private money, Sharks were the 2nd choice in voting when Blades didn’t fly for fear it would be associated with weapons. I doubt many who think Vegas will fail ever been to the state… My friend who has been there a few times knows the area well thinks the team will do great selling tickets and attendance… Islanders have a lot of fans, yet they didn’t sell many tickets :). I’d be shocked if Vegas struggles on or off the ice, hope they hire some Ice Girls too ;)…
Linda Cohn should worry about the embarrassment that the company she works for has become to real sports fans. Everything they do is an overproduced mess. She should remember back to when she might have been an actual hockey supporter as opposed to the person going along with looney Bettman bashers. Just ask Steve Levy, why during the NCAA Tournament why he would ask about the WCOH (still six months away) as opposed to the upcoming SCP? He even knew he was embarrassing himself.
As for selling LV, why has no one ever questioned OKC? A situation, if you got the commissioner to talk about in private, he would probably admit was one of his biggest mistakes. OKC had long hockey history. Why has no one said, that OKC was questionable? Easy. It’s the NBA and it’s not cool to bash the NBA (especially since you own rights & you don’t want to anger LeBron James) and the honeymoon period has yet to end. OKC has never had to show it will support a bad team. Talk to me about how they sell a Thunder team that wins 32 games in a season for a while.
Oh, and Ms. Cohn, as for beating the NFL, the NHL has been doing this for over a year. The nomadic Raiders and Mr. Addelson in response to the NHL are trying to rip off Nevada taxpayers for a billion dollars. Not going to happen. Not in sun light, anyway.