When the Vegas Golden Knights became the NHL’s 31st franchise, owner Bill Foley knew they had to have their own American Hockey League affiliate within three to five years.
It only took three.
The Henderson Silver Knights were officially introduced as the Golden Knights’ new AHL affiliate, Foley announced during a televised special on Thursday.
The Silver Knights will take the place of the San Antonio Rampage and start play next season. The Golden Knights purchased the AHL club — the minor league affiliate of the St. Louis Blues — on Feb. 7 to apply for relocation. The AHL approved the sale on Feb. 28.
Sup?— SilverKnights (@HSKnights) May 29, 2020
“When we started our initial ticket drive to bring hockey to Vegas and create the team we now know as the Golden Knights, it was obvious this community had all the makings of a great hockey city,” Foley said. “That being said, the passion and enthusiasm our fans have shown us over the past three years is greater than anything we could have imagined. Now our fans can watch more hockey right in their backyard and keep a close eye on our players’ journeys as they advance through our ranks with the intention of achieving the ultimate goal: Becoming a Vegas Golden Knight.”
Henderson will play at least next season at Orleans Arena before moving to a 6,000-seat arena — the Henderson Events Center — built at the site of the Henderson Pavilion on Green Valley Parkway and Paseo Verde Parkway in time before the 2022-23 season. Ground is set to be broken in August.
Golden Knights president Kerry Bubolz announced May 19 the organization has secured at least 7,600 deposits for Silver Knights season tickets next season. Foley confirmed that number Thursday, adding tickets will start at $10 next season.
The talk of bringing an AHL franchise to Southern Nevada started last season. Foley, Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon and president of hockey operations George McPhee understood the benefits of having their own AHL club and it being within proximity of Vegas headquarters. The Chicago Wolves had been Vegas’ AHL affiliate since the 2017-18 inaugural season.
Chicago made the playoffs in both seasons, including a trip to the Calder Cup Final in 2019.
While the Wolves had substantial success under the Golden Knights umbrella, sending players to and from Rosemont, Illinois was a caveat to push for this. It’s a three-hour, 46-minute flight from Las Vegas to the residence of AHL Chicago; think of someone like Nicolas Roy involved in 30 transactions between the pro club and the minor league affiliate.
There aren’t enough frequent flyer miles in the world.
“The way it evolved, having it here in Henderson, is really great for the Golden Knights and their whole system,” Foley said. “The Wolves were great partners. We just needed to take control of our destiny and have it here in the Valley.
“We call guys up, they don’t have to fly in from Chicago. They just drive across town. If someone gets the flu the night of a game, we call someone up and they report to T-Mobile [Arena, a 13-minute drive from the site of the new arena]. It’s so convenient and it makes so much sense.”
Foley confirmed jerseys are finalized and will be revealed in a couple of months to be ready for sale. Lifeguard Arena, the Silver Knights’ practice facility on Water Street, will be open Sept. 15, as will be the equivalent to the Arsenal, the Golden Knights’ team store. Fans can buy merchandise on VegasTeamStore.com.
“I think it’s going to be amazing. It’s a pretty awesome logo,” said Silver Knights forward Ben Jones, who played his first year of pro hockey for the Wolves this season. “Just playing in Henderson is going to be amazing. Even just being 10 minutes from the big club is going to be interesting to keep you honest. You don’t know who’s going to come through the door.”
The “Reveal Knight” program was also the start of a partnership between the Silver Knights and KSNV Channel 3. Foley said 10 home games will be broadcast on the local channel.
Did this logo happen overnight??? HARD NEIGH pic.twitter.com/NwkxMdeM2V— SilverKnights (@HSKnights) May 29, 2020
Foley’s primary objective when thinking of the logo was how to best connect it with the Golden Knights. He liked how the team would be viewed as knights and felt adding a warhorse was ideal. They went through many names and ideas, but everything came back to the Silver Knights.
“It’s going to be great for the guys in the AHL team,” Foley said.
The logo is a horse formed in a ‘H’ to represent Henderson. There are 20 chainlinks and 21 rivets on the base to represent the 2020-21 inaugural season.
The Golden Knights’ shield encompasses the warhorse; the steed “played a vital role in a knight’s quest to become elite, assisting in the night’s raining, skill advancement and overall development,” according to the club’s website.
“I always felt that it would be a great combination of having the knight and the warhorse,” Foley said. “Could you imagine if you were an archer or swordsman in medieval times, and the warhorse and knight is racing toward you? We just felt like it was a terrifying thing for the opposition.”
The gold eyes pay homage to the Golden Knights, with the primary colors being gold, silver and black.
“This was easy for me,” Foley said. “I was in the approval mode, not the design mode.”
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