During the entire Winter Classic today I couldn’t get my mind off the thought of someday watching the Vegas Golden Knights play in the NHL’s regular season gem. A while back we explored the idea of the Golden Knights being the away team at a game at West Point against the New York Rangers.
Well, it’s time to let that dream die… at least for 2018. The Creator confirmed the organization did indeed explore the possibility of playing a game at the home of the United States Army, but its not suitable for an NHL game at the moment.
The West Point rink doesn’t have NHL standard glass. The glass isn’t flexible. No (other) plans on the Winter Classic. -The Creator
However, his plans to bring his new team to the school he holds so near and dear to his heart are not going down because of some rigid glass.
We are going to have a day trip to West Point during an East Coast swing so the players can experience the institution.
So, no Winter Classic at West Point, no preseason game there, and no other discussions about Vegas playing in the 2018 Winter Classic anywhere else at this point. But that trip to West Point is going to be amazing for everyone involved.
Usually Drop The Gloves gives a chance for the writers on this site to disagree with each other, but sometimes an article we write strikes a nerve in you, the readers. That’s what happened with my recent article titled “Las Vegas In Winter Classic 2018 At West Point? Yes Please.” Former Guest Post contributor Stephen J Sochor sent in his rebuttal, which is now the first ever Drop The Gloves Guest Post. So, here goes.
Playoff games that start past many kids, and some adults, bed times, NHL Awards voters who watch little Western Conference hockey, and Winter Classic Games that are hosted in cities west of the Mississippi River, this is the NHL and its lack of interest for those fans who follow teams in the West. Why would the Las Vegas Something Knights agree to extend an east coast road trip by at least 3 days, AND lose a home date in the process? This is so short-sighted, and it does nothing for most of the fans in Las Vegas, whether they are season ticket holders or not.
The Las Vegas franchise is another chapter in growing the game to areas that are not traditional hockey bases. Stealing a home date from the fans that support the team in order to give their opponent a game in their backyard is preposterous. Even if you don’t believe the team will be able to compete for a playoff game next year, why would The Creator be happy to give up millions in tickets, merchandise, and local tax revenue? If you do believe the team can compete for the playoffs in year one, then what is to gain by extending a road trip by half a week for a singular “road” game?
The Rangers however must be the away team as their agreement with Madison Square Garden forbids them to give up a home game. Enter Las Vegas. There’s an obvious connection with The Creator to his alma mater, but the idea makes sense beyond that.
The NHL wants to do all it can to highlight Las Vegas in its first season, and aside from opening night, which will almost certainly be a Vegas home game, the Winter Classic is the premier slot. There is this problem though…
We would love to be involved in an outdoor game, but we wouldn’t give up a home date to do it. –The Creator to the LVRJ
My question, why not? At this very moment season ticket holders are beginning the process of selecting their seats for the inaugural season at T-Mobile Arena. The plan is for the team to play four preseason games and 41 regular season games in the building. But if there’s ever been a team in a position to give up a home game without the ire of their fan base it’s this one.
Last week hockey fans watched the Montreal Canadiens skate circles around the Boston Bruins in the annual Winter Classic. Boston lost 5-1 in the ‘House that Brady built.’ Maybe that’s why Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara was so embarrassed by his team’s play.
We’ve got to be better. We know that. But let’s pick it up (word beginning with ‘F’ only reserved for SinBin.vegas podcasts) mentally too. – Zdeno Chara
You see the Winter Classic is a big deal. Each team is honored to be invited to play outdoors. Most teams circle the date, and get their own TV show hyping it up. However, it didn’t seem as if the B’s took it as seriously as the Habs. And it was apparent in the four-part series on EPIX. P.K. Subban, Brendan Gallagher, and Mike Condon all showed excitement, and determination for Montreal. While Boston seemed to be taking the game as if it was another ordinary, regular season game. Well it isn’t.
I’ve brought this up before, but the topic came up on Twitter again, so I figured we should properly tackle it.
@SinBinVegas if Vegas gets an NHL team, do you think they would ever get to host a winter classic?
First of all Las Vegas currently doesn’t have the proper outdoor venue. When you consider this year’s outdoor games will be played at Gillette Stadium (68,000 capacity), Coors Field (50,000 capacity), and the TCF Bank Stadium (50,000 capacity) all dwarf Sam Boyd Stadium (40,000 capacity). Sam Boyd also doesn’t have the space, parking or amenities that the other stadiums posses. It would need some major renovations to hold a major professional event like an outdoor NHL game. The City of Las Vegas will have to build a state-of- the- art stadium that can hold 60,000+ people. Unfortunately there are no legitimate plans in the works, unless you are unlike us and believe this 100,000 seat stadium could become a reality.
Secondly, the NHL loves to promote their teams, especially new expansion teams. So an outdoor game between Las Vegas and the Arizona Coyotes makes sense. However, the Phoenix area has fine venues, in fact maybe some of the best. Southern Arizona has held Super Bowls, National Titles, Pro Bowls and WrestleMania’s for crying out loud. So it would make more sense to host an outdoor game in Arizona. Good news however, this would put the Las Vegas franchise in an outdoor game much faster. Really, it’s a win-win for the NHL. They get to promote a new expansion team and continue to assist the Coyotes direction.
Lastly, it seems the Pacific conference will continue to get squeezed on Winter Classics. Now there have been Stadium Series games, but the Winter Classics get more hype. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a west coast New Year’s Day game. So if Las Vegas was to be awarded an outdoor game, it would be after the All-Star break. But really, who cares? An outdoor game is always an event.