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Golden Knights blast into playoffs with new dragon

Updated April 30, 2024 - 12:27 am

The Golden Knights’ entertainment team is always thinking of “the next logical thing.”

The next logical thing is a giant, menacing dragon taking up residency at T-Mobile Arena.

Lacking a name but already making her mark (she is a female), the grinning, golden beast belches a blast of strobes and steam, simulating smoke and fire after every Golden Knights goal.

A fogger has been installed in the nose, and CO2 cannons — or “party cannons” — in the mouth. It’s like a dragon headlining Hakkasan.

The beast flared after Michael Amadio’s goal off a Brayden McNabb assist in the first period of Monday’s Game 4 of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

The 15-foot-tall, 34-foot-wide arena enhancement premiered Saturday night during the Golden Knights’ 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars. The effect erupted with fantastic response after second-period goals by McNabb and Jack Eichel.

The dragon was an instant hit with the NHL, which proclaimed on its X feed, “The @GoldenKnights have a dragon in their arena, and it just might be one of the coolest things.”

The team nonchalantly announced the dragon’s debut on social media with “we have a dragon in our arena now btw.”

The dragon has replaced a helmet atop the VGK castle. It was just a matter of time before T-Mobile’s castle took on a “Game of Thrones” vibe.

“Ever since the beginning, when we were thinking about the brand being Medieval, we thought, ‘Someday we’ll have a dragon,’” says Andrew Abrams, Golden Knights vice president and executive producer. “And then last season having the dragon as projection as part of our open, we were thinking to ourselves, what’s the next logical thing? Well, the next logical thing is an actual dragon.”

The team projected a dragon on the ice as part of the pre-game video production last season. In a peripherally related event, Imagine Dragons lit up the scene with “Whatever It Takes” during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final in May 2018.

The dragon features a detailed, 3D-printed head and claws. The team commissioned the piece through Las Vegas fabrication-construction company Water FX, which developed Elvis the Helmet, the castle and the Stanley Cup Champions-banner slot machine featured at the beginning of the season.

Water FX has also built several pool-deck landscapes at Las Vegas resorts. Kaos at the Palms and Tao Beach Club are among its projects.

It took Water FX eight weeks to fabricate and install the dragon piece.

“It’s our go-to company for all the set pieces that you see,” Abrams said.

Get to know the dragon, which is part of the team’s in-game entertainment package for the foreseeable future.

“The plan is to have it permanent throughout the playoffs and into next season and beyond,” Abrams said. “We just think it’s a great look.”

As for her name, that decision is in the offing, likely next season. We know it won’t be Priscilla, which is what the team has dubbed the Bliss Dance statue at the Park leading to Toshiba Square.

“When our march is getting close to T-Mobile Arena, our cue is, ‘We’re approaching Priscilla,’” Abrams said. “It’s just a fun thing, so we’re looking for a Vegas-type name to tie it all together.”

Something to celebrate. This unnamed dragon knows how to do that.

Contact John Katsilometes at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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