If you told me last February, that after almost a year, the NHL would be still shuffling along in deciding the cities that are worthy of their sports presence, I would be in complete denial. Perhaps it has more to do with the faith of our glittering city, but I’d like to think that grown men could come up with at least a rubber carrot that we could chew on. At this point we really know nothing more than we did when The Creator sat shoulder to shoulder with NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, to kick off the season ticket drive. A drive that far surpassed the expectation of 10,000 season tickets sold. This is nothing new so lets just make a choice for them and talk about where a potential Las Vegas American Hockey League team would land.
In a perfect world the Las Vegas Wranglers would still be playing at the Orleans Arena while management and Boyd Gaming would live in prefect harmony instead of fighting battles in the Review Journal. How perfect would it have been to have the ‘Baby Knights’ a mile up the street from the parent club. The promotion opportunities would have been endless. In the end the Wranglers wanted to lay a sheet of ice on top of Plaza Hotel and we know how excited families would be bringing their kids Downtown on a Saturday Night. On game nights you could have brought the kids to Freemont Street to listen to Def Leppard cover bands, not that there’s anything wrong with that, arm in arm with Hello Kitty and two guys who thought wearing a diaper for tips was a quality idea. Can you imagine the Midnight Games? The ‘Teddy Bear Toss’ would just simply be the ‘Teddy Toss’. We all knew that wouldn’t work and was just another attempt to appear as if General Manager, Billy Johnson, was trying when it was as much his fault as it was Boyd Gaming who decided that they would rather have Disney on their ice. Fitting considering how Mickey Mouse both parties handled the situation.
Anyway, where could a potential AHL team be. This season the American Hockey League, the AAA affliate to the National Hockey League, realigned. Of course, I immediately speculated that this was to include Las Vegas and possibly Seattle. They swallowed up numerous ECHL cities including yet another resurrection of the San Diego Gulls. My speculation of alignment to accompany expansion is still alive because the Pacific Division has only seven teams compared to eight in the Central. The same in the Eastern Conference. Every current AHL team has a current affiliate so who could step up to join the league next year? One name one name comes to mind. They were once IHL bitter rivals of the Las Vegas Thunder, they have a perfect 10,000 seat building in a city that has been playing hockey there since 1997, geographic location is perfect and they should be mentioned in the next wave of expansion 15-20 years from now. Drum roll…
The Las Vegas What Do You Call Us would like to welcome the Utah Grizzlies to the Las Vegas family.