Pictured above: The now-complete T-Mobile Arena during construction.
“The most important thing is they haven’t said no.” These were the latest words from businessman Bill Foley, who has been heading the much-supported movement to bring an NHL team to Las Vegas. Rumors began buzzing back in 2015 about the possibility of a hockey team that called Vegas its home, but plans really came to a head in early 2016 when it was revealed that the brand-new T-Mobile Arena was built to be hockey-friendly.
With locker rooms leading directly out onto the floor of the arena, and outfitted to be the most convenient for storing hockey gear, the T-Mobile Arena soon became the beacon of hope for local groups such as Vegas Wants Hockey. The arena was built with the intention of being a catch-all: great acoustics for concerts, amazing visibility for sports games, and a convenient location for both tourists and locals, but it’s pretty easy to see from the picture above that it looks like a hockey rink would fit perfectly.
Word got out around March of 2016 that plans to bring in a sports team just for the new arena were in the works, and some digging by local fan groups turned up that Bill Foley had put in a proposal to create the Black Knights, a tentatively-named Vegas hockey team.
The plans have not gone off without a hitch, however. Despite incredible support from locals, the NHL’s Board of Governors have not made an official call. A customary news conference prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals revealed that Commissioner Gary Bettman from the NHL was on the fence about a new team. However, positivity reigned supreme: the 9-member Executive Committee of the NHL will be meeting early June to discuss the proposal, and a recommendation from them will mean it’s passed on to the Board of Governors for a vote on June 22nd.
Although bringing an entire sports team to Las Vegas is by no means an easy feat, having all the puzzle pieces coming together this early on is a good sign.