It appears Las Vegas’s days as a non-major league city will soon be over. Reports are that the NHL’s expansion committee has recommended expansion to Las Vegas for 2017-18. It sounds like the deal will be done June 22, just in time for the NHL Awards also happening in Vegas.
If true, the brand-new T-Mobile Arena will be the proud new home of the team. The NHL will be the first North American big-4 “major league” to set up in Las Vegas — barely beating out the NFL’s Oakland Raiders in arriving in the city. But I’m not even sure the NFL will even come to Vegas, because it sounds like a Raiders’ move there depends heavily on public money for a stadium. We’ll see.
A lot of the comments online are very negative towards the NHL in Vegas, they seem to be trashing Las Vegas as a hockey market and are suggesting it will never fly there. This reminds me of all the people who were saying “pro lacrosse will never fly in Saskatoon,” and where are they now? In hiding, most of them. In particular, folks at FiveThirtyEight insist Las Vegas is a terrible market for NHL hockey, yet these same fools also once insisted that Donald Trump would never win the Republican nomination. So that site’s credibility is down to nothing, in my opinion.
I truly think being the first major league to make it into Vegas will help their cause a lot. Plus, I think fans will really be impressed with that new arena of theirs and want to go to games there. Besides, as I see it, if the NHL can work in Anaheim or Tampa Bay it can also work in Vegas. Good marketing and good promotion will go a long way.
This will make trips to Las Vegas far more interesting in the future. We await the official announcement.