Vegas bets on NHL, though its pro teams usually fold


When you have in mind hockey, there is no chance — zero per cent — that you think Las Vegas. Unless you tangible here, like Number 13, Zach McClenahan.

It’s under-16 AAA tryouts at the Las Vegas Ice Center, and McClenahan is force a good day. In just a couple of minutes he scored two goals.

And with the dope that his city is likely getting a pro franchise, he’s a step closer to his flight of fancy of playing NHL hockey in front of a hometown crowd.

“You can probably walk some of their practices, they to all intents let you on the rink once in a while and you can like skate with them,” McClenahan says, stud.

“Maybe I can meet some of the players and ask them questions around round how to make the next level.”

His chances of making it are no more improbable than the opportunities of the NHL deeming Las Vegas more suitable than Quebec City to be granted a team. On Tuesday The Associated Press reported that Las Vegas settle upon be introduced next week as the first NHL ex nsion team since 2000.

The Vegas franchise has a billionaire supporter — Bill Foley — and a brand-new stadium. Those who helped sell edible tickets, like Kirk Brooks, say they’ve already got deposits from 13,000 people.


The Las Vegas franchise, owned by a gathering headed by billionaire businessman Bill Foley, has a brand-new arena. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

“They maintain forgetting we don’t play hockey outside,” Brooks says. “Once you go into an arena it doesn’t make a difference what’s outside. It’s the coolest place in town!”

Still, the NHL’s track log for hot-weather teams isn’t great. The Carolina Hurricanes and Arizona Coyotes are travailing, and the Atlanta Thrashers are long gone to cooler Winnipeg.

Learning from misconceptions

“It’s just a matter of learning from those mistakes, trying to beaten them and not make the same mistakes over again,” says Gabe Gauthier, who conducted several games in the NHL and is now the head coach of the Las Vegas Storm in the Western Phases Hockey League.

“If you build it right and you have the right ownership and people that are keen and also driven to make the organization work and to make the fan base masterpiece, anything can happen,” Gauthier says.

Las Vegas, with more than two million in residences and more than 40 million visitors last year, agreeing to its convention authority, is the largest U.S. city without a major pro sports ir. For locals, an NHL franchise would be the only game in town.

“I think the devotees will have their first pro team to come and support and gathering behind, and I think the community is going to get behind the team,” says st NHL winger, Canadian Bill Muckalt. He’s the general manager of the Nebraska-based Tri-City Ice-storm in the United States Hockey League, and was in Las Vegas for the tryouts.


Former NHL winger per money Muckalt says it’s great to see the NHL ex nd into non-traditional markets. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

“It’s overwhelming to see the NHL continue to grow in non-traditional markets,” Muckalt says.

Doug MacLean be acquainted withs a thing or two about non-traditional markets. The former general manager alleviated bring hockey to Columbus, Ohio. Las Vegas, he says, “is not going to be mild.”

“It’s all going to translate from the wins and how much they can sell the spirited there,” MacLean says.

“It’s always easy the first couple of years. But when you get to Year 5, 6, 7 and 8 — how is it then? We were vended out in Columbus, Ohio the first three, four years of the franchise. Then all of a precipitate, because we weren’t having success on the ice, the fan base dropped off. So you go from make it with pretending really good money the first few years and all of a sudden you’re into dominant losses.”

Las Vegas is a sports loser

And when it comes to pro franchises, Las Vegas has a admit defeat record.

Its triple-A baseball team is near the bottom of the league in gathering. Two lower-tier professional hockey teams — the Las Vegas Thunder and the Las Vegas Wranglers — maintain folded.

And remember the Las Vegas Posse? Its life in the Canadian Football Band was nasty, brutish and short.

But there’s another reason neither the NBA nor the NFL be enduring settled here.

“There’s lots of challenges with running a hockey unite in a typical, normal market, but when you’re putting a team in Vegas, with the befuddlements that are available there, I think it’s going to be challenging,” MacLean articulates.

“With today’s NHL player, with the average salary of $2.6-plus million a year and you’re prosperous into Vegas, there’s going to be a ton of temptations.”

Still, the NHL is set to become the firstly major sports league to take that gamble. Its board of governors ordain make a final decision when it meets in Las Vegas June 22.

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