How a young Golden Knights franchise unraveled the ‘Sin City’ narrative – .

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How a young Golden Knights franchise unraveled the ‘Sin City’ narrative – .


Remember what we thought before we put a professional sports team in Las Vegas?

That players would spend more time in casinos than in the gym. This game-fixing was inevitable, and only single players would want to be there. Certainly “Sin City” was not a place for spouses and children.

Vegas was all about Mike Tyson’s Tigers and the $ 500 bottle service. And anyway, with all the locals working shifts in hotels and casinos, how could they attract a loyal following?

Well, allow veteran Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nick Holden – father of four and owner of a Vegas home – to update us on the Vegas experience, from a player’s perspective. National Hockey League.

“A lot of guys started talking about retiring here,” said Holden, who grew up in the cozy Edmonton suburb of St. Albert. “Once you get away from the Strip, family life is great. The city has everything you need, but it still seems quite small. From our home in Summerlin to the Strip, you’re there in 15, 20 minutes.

Do you think you know how the playoffs are going to go this year? Before each round, from Round 1 to the Stanley Cup Finals, predict the winners and number of games for each series and answer a few questions about the props.

As the Golden Knights’ semi-final series against the Montreal Canadiens moves north, it also goes from one of the NHL’s easiest free agent draws to one of the toughest. From a place without state tax to a province with the heaviest.

As the most recent NHL franchise – we’re still waiting for Seattle to drop a puck – faces the elder, it’s become the dirty little (not so) hockey secret the Golden Knights might have. not the story of a Montreal, a Toronto or even an Edmonton. But they have a definite advantage when it comes to wooing free agents like Alex Pietrangelo, Conn Smythe’s candidate who picked Vegas last October.

It’s almost laughable how the first Vegas male franchise in the major leagues unraveled a narrative that spanned decades all around the Frank Sinatra “Rat Pack” lifestyle. He implied that anyone with money who lived in Vegas would spend it on alcohol, gambling, and women.

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Instead, owner Bill Foley spent his money on the facilities and the right people, creating an organization as attractive as the city around it. It’s a culture within a culture that has made Vegas an impossible enemy for many other NHL franchises when it comes to luring free agents.

“Of course that’s an advantage,” began head coach DeBoer. “But it’s an advantage that is not accidental. ”

Location, weather and city are obvious draws, DeBoer admits. “But guys want to go where they have a chance to win, and they can have a good lifestyle. The ‘opportunity to win’ coin, there are a lot of big cities, but not everyone wants to go.

“The expectation (here) is that we’re going to win, we’re going to spend up to the cap to win every year, and do whatever we need to do every year to win. People want to work in this environment.

Holden’s children are nine, seven, five, and two. They are all in public school.

“The school is three or four years old. Academically, the children have done very well, ”he said. “We’ve had our kids in public school the entire time we’ve been here. Some families have opted for private school… but it’s not something you have to do.

Realtor.com reports that the median (halfway between high and low) list price for a home in Las Vegas is US $ 339,900. In Toronto, that figure exceeds C $ 1.2 million.

The median cost of a condo in Vancouver is C $ 685,000. And when you step out of your Vegas residence, unlike Vancouver – or any center in Canada – a trip to the mall or the grocery store doesn’t turn into an autograph session (or heckling) on ​​the part. local fans.

“Outside of hockey it’s a very attractive place to come,” said Holden, 34, who previously played in Columbus, Colorado, New York (Rangers) and Boston. “You have great weather all year round. The cost of living is not super expensive. It’s a hub city for flying so it’s very easy for family or friends to get there. No state tax either.

“There are so many positives, it’s a pretty easy sale if you talk to a free agent. And they made the playoffs and pushed for the Cup every year they’ve been in the league, so we’ve got a really good team too. “

Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people in the hockey world and then they tell listeners what they heard and what they think.

Ryan Reaves is probably as important a personality as the Town Man you’ll find on this list. He estimates that he will go to the Strip, “two, three, four times a year for dinner.”

Whatever the number, it’s clearly not a remake of The Hangover.

“The guys who come in and play, hit the Strip – sure, the lure is there,” Reaves said. “But if you do that, you will be shipped faster than you are here.” With all the perks of the city, the way the fans treat you, how invested the fans are in the team, the guys come here knowing they don’t want to compromise their time here.

“You try not to get into too much trouble. “

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