It’s finally official. After all the chatter this season Las Vegas will become the home of a new NHL franchise. The new team will be the first professional sports franchise to break into the Vegas market. The turn off for a lot of the sports was the question of ticket sales and popularity in the area as Vegas is mainly a tourist destination. I think that a football team or basketball team would fit fantastically in that system, but hockey? It’s not the first idea that pops into my head when I think of Vegas. There can’t be more diehard fans in Vegas than in Quebec or Hartford right? I could think of so many cities that could benefit so much more by having a professional hockey team.
Quebec has tried for so many years to get a team back in their hockey crazed city. They just built a $400 million dollar arena that’s pretty sick too. Patrick Roy wants to bring the Nordiques back, and I think it’s just a matter of time before it happens.
This experiment can end up going 2 ways. 1. it could be a major success, paving the way for the NFL, NBA, and MLB to set up franchises in Sin City. Hopefully this is the case but with the unpredictability of the Vegas sports market who knows. I can see this risk becoming a success but only if the Black Knights (or whatever the nickname will be) as a good team within 2-3 years of the expansion. Like I mentioned before, Vegas is not the most Hockey crazy town I know of, and a bad team does not help the growth of popularity in a city.
When an expansion team is added, they have the rights to select 1 player from each of the 30 teams and are guaranteed a top 6 draft pick with a chance at #1. The other NHL teams can protect 1 Goalie 3 D-Men and 7 forwards from election in the expansion draft pool. The thing about expansion drafts are they are so hit or miss. You can gamble and choose young players and try to build a roster that can gel through the rough first couple of years. That all sounds good but young kids don’t have a lot of patience and will likely opt out or leave via free agency as soon as their rookie deals are up. And obviously if you try and build a team of old veterans than they will be harder to build a core when they get old and injured.
The second thing that could happen is the failure of the team and the expansion. The main concern drifting around the league offices is ticket sales. Will the team generate enough buzz to sell tickets and put butts in seats? I guess we’ll find out in 2 years, but I have a hard time believing an expansion team in Sin City can draw people from the casinos and clubs and put them in the rink. I hope I’m wrong, I really do because I think adding sports in Vegas would be a nice addition to the city as it provides a non-gambling attraction to the city.
ESPN posted a list of suggested team names a few days ago, strengthening the discussion over what the name should be. The nickname with the most steam right now seems to be The Las Vegas Black Knights, which I don’t understand. I heard a rumor that the Vegas team does not want their nickname to be associated with gambling… Well why the hell not? That’s pretty much your entire identity. It wouldn’t make any sense for the team to not be associated with gambling. Dealers, Snake Eyes, Aces, Rat Pack, High Rollers, and so many other nicknames would make so much more sense.
My 3 suggested nicknames
Las Vegas High Rollers
Sin City Aces
Sin City Outlaws
The last nickname makes it move thinking about the logo possibilities and merchandising. It also is a must have when it comes to the Sin City title. It’s so much cooler and easier to say than Las Vegas. Plus the Warriors are doing pretty good right now and they go by Golden State, so it does make sense.
This team is a huge gamble (pun intended)
But with the right leadership management and luck, the Las Vegas franchise may find some luck in the cards..get it?
And become a successful franchise and pave the way for future sports business in the most high risk city in the country.