Las Vegas Nevada is definitely becoming a hockey destination. While the journey for the City of Las Vegas may appear to some to have taken place over night, it has been one that has taken more than a few years.
Hosting the NHL awards show long before the Las Vegas Golden Knights became more than an idea for Bill Foley, the City once hosted the ECHL minor pro loop. On Dec. 15, 1995 Western Michigan defeated Bowling Green, 6-4, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
The University of Nevada Las Vegas will this year have an ACHA D-I team as they look to continue to rise to NCAA status.
The October, 2018 US Hockey Hall of Fame game between the University of North Dakota and the University of Minnesota has been scheduled and sold out in minutes.
Now, January 2018 will see Boston College, Michigan Tech, Arizona State and Northern Michigan University will play in the inagural Ice Vegas Invitational.
Some have said, hockey will not survive or work in Las Vegas. Others believe it will become a great success.
Las Vegas has a hockey culture. They have a growing youth hockey community, junior hockey, ACHA hockey and now the NHL will take the ice in less than five months. The only thing Las Vegas hockey culture was missing was a leader to really grow and solidify the sport in the community.
It turns out that Bill Foley and City Officials have decided to be fully committed to growing hockey and becoming those leaders.
NCAA Hockey in the desert. NHL hockey in the desert. It is an amazing thing to see what can happen when money meets motivation.
Make no mistake, the push for more NCAA hockey in Las Vegas is on. The UNLV ACHA team is still moving forward with its search for funding to join the likes of new NCAA programs Arizona State and Penn State.
If there is one thing I have learned in my trips to Vegas is that the house always wins. When it comes to hockey, I believe Vegas knows exactly what they are doing, and to bet against their success will probably be a mistake.
Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher