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The Vegas Experience

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

Remember what we used to think about placing a professional sports team in Las Vegas?

That players would spend more time in the casinos than the gym. That game-fixing was inevitable, and only single players would want to be there. Certainly, “Sin City” was no place for spouses and children.

Vegas was all about Mike Tyson’s tigers and $500 bottle service. And anyhow, with all the locals working shift work at the hotels and casinos, how would they possible draw a loyal following?

Well, allow Vegas Golden Knights veteran defenceman Nick Holden — father to four children and a home owner in Vegas — to bring us up to speed on the Vegas experience, from a National Hockey League player’s perspective.

“Lots of guys have started to talk about retiring here,” said Holden, who grew up in the comfortable Edmonton suburb of St. Albert. “Once you get away from the strip, family living is awesome. The city has got everything you need, but it still feels pretty small. From our house out in Summerlin to the strip, you’re there in 15, 20 minutes.”


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


SYF's avatar

Here are the celebrities I have seen here in Vegas:

Drew Carey at the former Hard Rock Hotel (now Virgin Resort).
Brock Lesnar at Coyote Ugly in New York-New York.
Alonzo Mourning, Patrick Ewing, and John Thompson at the Orleans Hotel.
Pete Rose at the Forum Shoppes in Caesar’s Palace.

...and there are others I’m forgetting.  I can guarantee you that every time I saw someone famous, there wasn’t much of a mob around these people. 

The famous faces I was excited about Mr. Lee of Lee’s Discount Liquor, who is one of the most visible faces in commercials locally so every one can spot him.  In fact, I’ve seen more people get their pictures taken with Mr. Lee (a Korean immigrant) than any other of the big name celebrities in this town.

When the Las Vegas Wranglers were playing here, they were very appreciative that there were barely any autograph hounds going after them after the games.  There is a well-told story that Celine Dion was a bit of a diva when no one or very, very few people would ask her for her autograph in any of the places she would frequent.  My neighbor across from the street from me is a bigger celebrity among the Hawaiians and the Samoans and other South Pacific Islanders because he is a cast member of “O” at the Bellagio and he has a starring role in that show. 

For the most part, pro and semi-pro athletes are generally well-treated and the locals RESPECT their privacies.  We know how to keep our distance.  They go shopping at the local Smith’s (a Kroger brand store); go to church and sit with the congregation without being harassed; go to the bank; etc.  So when people ask the singular most repetitive and groan-inducing question:  “How do you live in Vegas?” which this pretentious article seems to ask implicitly, well, we turn around and ask you, “How do YOU live where you’re from?”

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 06/18/21 at 12:59 PM ET

d ca's avatar

I had many a disagreement with people that thought Vegas wouldn’t be a great city for hockey and it’s one arena I haven’t seen a game at yet. But there is the Patrick Kane/Allen Iverson advantage even if teams/the league doesn’t want to publicize it.

PS Pete Rose is always hucking autographs in Vegas…I’ve saw him in the tunnel shoppes between the Luxor and Mandalay Bay…he’s happy when you approach him at these venues because he knows eventually it translates into sales. Ask him for a story about Sparky Anderson as you grew up a Tigers fan and he’ll oblige with a couple good ones. Or about how his former players ended up managing the Tigers: Buddy Bell, Lloyd McClendon, etc.(I haven’t seen him with a line for an autograph…might be different now)...

I think the article failed to address the single biggest issue of living in a place like Vegas/New York/next to a hospital ER/fire department is that it’s a 24/7 city that requires larger staffing than most others and you can get neighbors especially in condos where their work schedule doesn’t match your sleep schedule. But I don’t imagine that higher paid players have to worry about this…in fact it’s probably more of a Tatar and Helm Royal Oak Condo situation.

But luring families is something most suburbs can claim. I don’t think Vegas is unique. It’s the same for a player living in Novi/Northville/West Bloomfield/Birmingham and being asked about living in crime ridden Detroit. Too many take it personal rather than educational opportunity.

Posted by d ca on 06/18/21 at 04:00 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

It’s all fun and there’s no criticism when a team is winning. Give it a few years, the knights aren’t doing so well, and start to see how the narrative plays out.

Then again, I’m guessing the local media won’t be too present and critical, similar to how things seem to be in Scottsdale and Miami.

Posted by TreKronor on 06/18/21 at 10:53 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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