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Las Vegas Shaped The Golden Knights As They Shape Las Vegas

Raphael Rivera named it “Vegas” or meadow. Was everybody pissed at him for dropped the “Las” too? (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Las Vegas translates from Spanish to mean “The Meadows.” The origin of the name comes from a Mexican explorer who was traveling from New Mexico to Los Angeles. As you expect of a man traveling through the desert, Raphael Rivera had grown thirsty. In a valley surrounded by mountains, Rivera found water, he also found vast green patches of land in an otherwise sand and dirt covered desert. Rivera drank and drank and drank and then decided his new favorite place was to be called Vegas, or meadow. 196 years later, the name remains and Rivera’s oasis is now known as Springs Preserve.

Rivera had characterized Las Vegas as simply, a place to get water. He was thirsty, so he stopped. Today, Las Vegas is known as the Entertainment Capital of the World. Characterized quite simply as, a place to go to have fun. But like our parched explorer friend found out, when time is spent actually getting to know Las Vegas, there’s much more than meets the eye.

It’s not just a place to go throw all your money away pulling a lever, tossing some dice, or spinning a wheel. Instead, it’s a real city, a real community, and like most who plant roots in Vegas quickly realize, a great place to live.

In the locker room, after the game, I realized how much we embodied Vegas — how similar our team is to the city. We’re a bunch of people, from all over North America and the world, who were castaways from their teams. And nobody really took us seriously. –David Perron in The Players Tribune

The community of Las Vegas sees itself as a castaway. People from Vegas constantly have to explain details those from other cities don’t. Thus, Las Vegans feel they are put in a box they don’t belong in so they are loud, they are proud, and they will go to great lengths to prove that yes, they do live in Las Vegas, and yes it is a real city.

The Golden Knights have given the city an identity, but equally true is the city has given the team an identity.

And we’re a real hockey team. With some real good players. -Perron

Las Vegas doesn’t actually offer anything different than anywhere else, they just seem to do it better, and the people of Las Vegas believe it. The Golden Knights don’t do anything different than any other team, they just seem to do it better, and they definitely believe it.

Probably about a month ago I was (reflecting on how we were winning) but now I believe in our team every night. I think we’re a good hockey team. We’re working hard and we’re competing hard. Can we maintain this? I think we can and the guys feel confident about that. -Gerard Gallant

Just like this team, you know damn well Perron isn’t going to fall down here. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

People’s opinions change sometimes. Raphael Rivera was looking for water, he found a vast meadow in the middle of the desert. Locals came to get away from wherever they were before, they found a great place to live and an amazing community to be a part of. The NHL came for an expansion team that was supposed to stink, it found a winner, and maybe just a Cup contender.


*** Here’s the link to David Perron’s full article in The Player’s Tribune. It’s spectacular.***




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  1. Jeff

    Nice article Ken. It appears your idea of the local hockey scene has changed since the beginning of the season.

  2. Jack

    Great article Ken. You wrote so well about what I always felt but coudn’t express as good as you did!

  3. heffay702

    As a Vegas native – born and raised – I really identified with this article. And to expand on it, I always resented sports leagues discriminating against Vegas due to gambling. Once we were granted a team I clung on to it and have cherished it. I love our team because they claim us and they love how we have claimed them as our own as well. Vegas has been an outcast for so long just as these players were outcasted. There really is a symbiotic relationship that I believe is unique to this city and its team.

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