Updated May 22, 2023 - 8:05 pm
The Kats! Bureau is writing this at The Perch at T-Mobile Arena for the Golden Knights-Dallas Stars Western Conference playoff game. The Perch is the upper-level media deck. We’re high up, but no obstructed views (you, too, should get that spherical reference).
A fixture at VGK games is no more: Cameron Hughes will no longer be jacking up crowds during the game.
Golden Knights officials have offered no specific reason for Hughes’ departure. But the entertainment team certainly is moving forward without him and sees no further need for his unannounced, T-Shirt-stripping antics.
The Golden Knights said in a statement, “While we have made multiple additions and changes to our show over the course of the last six seasons, Cameron remains a friend of the organization.”
Hughes himself has offered no insight. He says he’ll miss firing up the VGK faithful in The Fortress. Thousand of fans would likely have been excited to give him a final send-off.
For Game 1, a 3-2 Golden Knights OT victory, the team had a new opening show and battle with the Golden Knight. Two members of Knight Line by Drumbots were suspended on platforms from the rafters, a first. The Knight Club still raged between the second and third periods. The Hat Trick Challenge guessing game keeps the fans’ interest.
So there is ample entertainment value in a Golden Knights show at T-Mobile.
But we will miss Hughes, a fixture in the Golden Knights’ storybook first season who won back-to-back awards as the Best Act in the country from a website that specializes in such awards.
Hughes’ primary gift has been to ignite the crowd simply by acting like a maniac. I met him at T-Mobile in June of 2018, as the Golden Knights were battling the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Final.
I referred to him then as “The Igniter,” thinking it was already his nickname. It was so natural. But it was the first time he’d been tagged with that moniker. He’s not had a formal nickname with the Golden Knights.
Hughes has been jacking up crowds for two decades, starting with an impromptu “igniting” of the Ottawa Senators in 1994. He’s entertained crowds at Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers games over the years, and has worked 17 NBA and NHL arenas.
Hughes appeared at more than 75 games over the years. A video of him rocking out to “Mony Mony” by Billy Idol has amassed 20.6 million views on TikTok. He was at T-Mobile as a fan during Game 5 of the the Golden Knights-Oilers series.
He met with a group of fans at a merch counter. “They said that I had no idea what I’ve meant to the fans from Day 1.” At that, The Igniter walked away, in tears.
Orange you over it?
The Knights should go with orange alternate jerseys, to match the cones lining road-construction zones throughout Las Vegas.
Stay away from the Strip. Stay away from Interstate 15, too. And any street downtown. Or any navigational path made of asphalt.
I tried to park at the Cosmopolitan on Thursday morning, heading south on the Strip. I finally ditched that plan as the boulevard was pinched to a single lane in front of Bellagio Fountains. I parked at Bellagio, walked to Cosmopolitan, then walked to Caesars Palace for an extended stay to cover Garth Books.
As I walked out of the Cosmo, I was met with an unmistakable scent. Tar. The Strip was being resurfaced, Caterpillar heavy equipment lumbering along the street. I honestly forgot at which resort I’d parked, running my valet slip at Caesars Palace. First-world problem, yes. At least I got my steps in, and also a nifty social-media post of the crew in action.
The F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix better be worth it, sports fans. I hope it changes all our lives for the better, because our city right now is a big staging area. The Strip especially is jacked up. If you can help it, steer clear.
Cool Hang Alert
The next Monday’s Dark theme illuminates with “The Music of the ’70s” at 8 p.m. Monday at The Space. The show steams at mondaysdark.com, and all this mirrored-ball activity is to benefit Foundation For Recovery. Great cause and some groovy tunes are on tap.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.