Golden Knights explain importance, impact of playing in an outdoor game
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - When the Golden Knights drop the puck Saturday in Lake Tahoe, they will be the 26th team in the NHL to have played in an outdoor game.
Only 5 teams have yet to participate in the league’s marquee event, including Stanley Cup winning franchises like Carolina and Tampa Bay.
“How quickly this city has built into a hockey town it doesn’t surprise me,” said Golden Knights forward, Ryan Reaves. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a franchise become a powerhouse like we have, it really has become a hockey and a sports city so quickly just from the drop of the puck the first year, something the league took notice of a rewarded the franchise with.”
“It’s the NHL saying Vegas has arrived on the national scene, as a team people want to see,” said head coach Pete DeBoer. “That’s a credit to what has been built here from day one and how quickly it happened is the story, I don’t know if it will be repeated to have the type of fan and fan experience and fans around the world and nationally already four seasons into your life. It’s a real testament.”
Since the Golden Knights arrived in 2017, only five teams have had more regular season wins. Vegas also ranks in the top-five in home attendance.
“The fans are absolutely unbelievable, they’re unbelievable even when they’re not in the stands right now,” said Golden Knights defenseman, Alec Martinez. “The support we get is awesome and for the league to recognize that and give something back an opportunity for us in a marquee game in Nevada outside, that’s pretty cool and they definitely deserve it.”
“Playing against the team for one season and basically putting them #1 on my list where I wanted to play, I don’t think that is an easy thing,” said Golden Knights captain, Mark Stone. “They’ve created a culture, a winning culture, a team that wants to win, do great things for their city, this is just something they can tip their cap to.”
“We talk about how this franchise is so young, but this franchise is so deserving, coming into the league and done everything to grow the game, not just in Las Vegas, but everywhere,” said Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty. “What other team is wearing chrome gold helmets, people aren’t afraid here to make bold decisions and I think it’s been so beneficial, for myself as a player, so different that what I’m used to, but not just the city the league, this franchise deserves it, I think this will be the most unique outdoor game to date, hope we get the win.”
The Golden Knights will play in the 32nd outdoor game in NHL history on Saturday, February 19th.
The first NHL outdoor game took place in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace in September 1991.
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