Knights fever extends all the way to New Jersey

There’s this kid I know who lives in New Jersey and roots for underdogs. That’s his shtick. So, naturally, he became a Vegas Golden Knights fan last summer, well before it was fashionable to support some lowly expansion team that has since become the darling of the hockey world and, indeed, the entire sports world.

His name is Ethan Jaffe, and if the last name sounds familiar, I’ll admit he’s my grand-nephew. And what makes this a Summerlin story is that Ethan and his folks were visiting in Summerlin recently for a family event.

Naturally, the first stop was the hallowed ground of hockey in Las Vegas, T-Mobile Arena. Ethan came away with a number 29 jersey (Marc-Andre Fleury). Then it was on to Summerlin in hopes of finding the Golden Knights at City National Arena, their practice site. No such luck.

So instead, Ethan and I sat down to discuss how a seventh-grader at Terrill Middle School in Scotch Plains, New Jersey — some 3,000 miles east of Las Vegas — has been a Knights fan since their first puck was dropped. Adding to the mystery is that the New Jersey Devils also made the playoffs. And the Devils have participated in the Stanley Cup finals five times since 1995, winning the big trophy three of those years.

“My friends at the school lunch table think I’m a little crazy. Can’t figure out why I don’t root for the Devils, or even the New York Rangers,” he said over a glass of lemonade.

“But I decided last summer that I was going to be a fan of this hockey team nobody in my school ever heard of,” Ethan explained. Every morning after a Golden Knights, game he couldn’t wait to see the result. Given the three-hour time difference, Ethan was fast asleep by the time each game ended.

“Maybe next year they’ll be terrible. But I’ll be there for them. And I’ll be there for them in 10 years, or 50 years. For me it’s about being a true fan, and they’re my team,” Ethan added as he guzzled down his second lemonade.

This kid is a big sports fan, but to his way of thinking, “I always liked the underdog, and becoming a Golden Knights fan in 2017 was like becoming a Mets fan in 1962.” But with one major difference: The Golden Knights were the big winner their first time around.

And so when Ethan went to school back in September with the black-and-gold emblem of the Golden Knights emblazoned on his new sweatshirt, a gift for his 12th birthday from his grandparents, “other kids looked at me like I was strange.”

But that was just the beginning. “My collection of Golden Knights stuff is growing all the time,” he said proudly. It includes a variety of pennants on the wall beside his bed. It also includes shirts, hats and other paraphernalia that he wears to school — all Golden Knights-related, of course. Ethan even has a Golden Knights bedpillow that his grandmother Susan knitted for him.

Crazy or not, those other kids at Terrill Middle are now eager to know how he discovered the magic of this wonder team so early on.

“It’s my secret, and I’m not telling,” he said with a grin, while sipping his third lemonade.

Herb Jaffe was an op-ed columnist and investigative reporter for most of his 39 years at the Star-Ledger of Newark, New Jersey. Contact him at hjaffe@cox.net.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Herb Jaffe Video
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like