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Defining The Las Vegas Hockey Fan

from Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal,

Who is the Las Vegas hockey fan?

“Hopefully, we can help mold that,” said Murray Craven, the former NHL player and adviser to team owner Bill Foley. “It’s almost a direct challenge to the local fan base. Who are you? Our best salesman for the casual fan who might not know the game is going to be that person sitting next to them or all around them that does.

“All of sudden, you catch the fever and start asking questions and that’s how you learn as a fan. Don’t be afraid if you don’t know much about the game. We will have those people. Come and be entertained, because we will definitely entertain you. When you have fans that learn the game and become passionate about it, that’s how you develop a lifelong love for it.”

Hockey fans are among the most passionate and knowledgeable in sports. They know the game’s history, its nuances, its creative nature. But this isn’t Detroit or Chicago or Philadelphia — all cities Craven played in during his 18-year career — and there is no telling the level of understanding many Las Vegas fans will own at the outset.

There will be transplants, those season-ticket holders who grew up on the game elsewhere and will now shift their loyalties to the local side. There will also be some who don’t know the difference between a blue line and a crease.

Fact: Las Vegas needs all of them to build a sustainable franchise following the initial wave of elation for merely having a team. The witness test for fan support isn’t Opening Night in 2017. It’s Opening Night in 2020.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: las+vegas

Comments

SYF's avatar

For me, I’m happy Vegas has a team because the Wings will be making their annual trip to Vegas.  And I hope it succeeds beyond measure because I can see the Wings play live more regularly.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 08/03/16 at 04:17 PM ET

Avatar

I already have to travel to see NHL hockey. Adding Vegas as a hockey destination is great for me. I’m hoping they’ll get friendly schedules so a visiting fan can catch 3 games in 5 days pretty frequently.

One thing that does look sound is ownership. They’ve got the $$$ and are committed to the team long term. That’s a lot more than can be said of some previous expansion owners.

Winning is key above all else. With hundreds of other things to do in Vegas on any given night (they should have lots of day games), people aren’t going to choose hockey if they aren’t entertaining.

Posted by evileye on 08/04/16 at 10:09 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

There will be transplants, those season-ticket holders who grew up on the game elsewhere and will now shift their loyalties to the local side. There will also be some who don’t know the difference between a blue line and a crease.

I think, for the majority of “fans” (not talking about the bandwagon fans), you aren’t going to be changing the transplants’ team.  Sure, they’ll go to see their old team, but they aren’t going to be the season ticket holders, the jersey purchasers, etc.

I still think they are going to struggle to build a fan base in that city.  They likely will be able to fill the arena, at least with the visiting teams fans helping out, but locally I could see the glitz and glamour wearing off after a couple years.

Posted by TreKronor on 08/04/16 at 11:47 AM ET

igrover's avatar

“There will be transplants, those season-ticket holders who grew up on the game elsewhere and will now shift their loyalties to the local side. There will also be some who don’t know the difference between a blue line and a crease.”


Yeah they said exactly the same thing about Phoenix.  Especially when the Canadian ‘Snow Birds” came down for the Winter.

I wonder how that all worked out.

Posted by igrover on 08/05/16 at 04:03 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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