Las Vegas was recently awarded a National Hockey League expansion team, and fans are already chomping at the bit for some puck. Deposits on season tickets have reached 16,000 and a waiting list has been established for even single-game tickets. All the fervor has come before the team even has a name!
Last week, it was finally decided that the name and logo for the team would be announced on Nov. 22 at the Toshiba Plaza outside of T-Mobile Arena. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, team owner Bill Foley, and team general manager George McPhee will all participate in the event.
Foley told NHL.com in June that his team-name preference is Black Knights, largely because of his ties to the U.S. Military Academy as a West Point graduate. But that name didn’t sit well with fans, and the team proceeded to trademark three related monikers: Desert Knights, Golden Knights, and Silver Knights.
Whatever its name, the Las Vegas team will be the National Hockey League’s 31st franchise and the first expansion club since the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild joined the league over 15 years ago.
Currently, the NHL is divided into two unbalanced conferences, with 16 teams in the East and 14 in the West. Las Vegas will bring the league one step closer to conference symmetry as the 15th team in the Western Conference.
The new team will call T-Mobile arena home, a relatively new venue located just north of the Strip. The arena can hold over 17,000 people, and Foley told the NHL he expects 85 to 90-percent of the crowd to be season-ticket holders.
To build the team that will actually hit the ice, an expansion draft will take place next summer. Existing teams will be able to protect as many as 11 players in the draft. Las Vegas will then select one unprotected player from each of the 30 teams, and must draft at least 14 forwards, nine defenseman, and three goalies. The team must also draft at least 20 players who have contracts that carry through the first season (2017-2018).
The 2016-2017 season salary-cap limit is $73 million and the earliest Las Vegas can buy out any contracts is the summer of 2018.
Featured photo credit: GSMArena
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