BY AUSTIN MCCRACKEN | Ball State Sports Link
The “City of Lights” known for mega casino-hotels and entertainment destinations, will add to its allure later this year as they welcome a new National Hockey League franchise.
The Vegas Golden Knights will be joining the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and five other teams in the Pacific Division of the NHL Western Conference to start the 2017-18 regular season.
After the 2016 NHL postseason, rumors began to spread of an expansion team in Las Vegas and leading up to the league owners’ meetings and NHL awards ceremony, these rumors had become reality.
The Golden Knights are the first NHL franchise to represent the city of Las Vegas and are the only major American sporting team in “Sin City.”
The franchise is currently owned by Bill Foley, who has committed to giving more than $500 million to help fund the team. Within weeks, Foley began the hiring process and gained more than he could bargain for in new team management.
Former Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee will be taking over as the Golden Knights GM to start the 2017-18 season and Kelly McCrimmon, owner of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, was hired as the team’s assistant GM.
Las Vegas natives and others across the country are offering their support to the new franchise, and even some big name athletes are lining up as well.
Bryce Harper, current right fielder and four-time all-star for the Washington Nationals, is a Las Vegas native and a huge supporter of the new NHL organization.
With the 2016-17 NHL season past the halfway point and the playoffs coming soon, many wonder if the Golden Knights will be ready to compete at a high level in the Western Conference.
The organization currently does not have any players signed to its roster and the scouts are still in the process of looking for the best amateur hockey talent in the world.
While the team has yet to establish its roster for the upcoming season, they have been able to interact with fans and share the process with them through their “Behind the Vegas Ice” series.