95°F
weather icon Clear

Golden Knights festival fires up fans in downtown Las Vegas

Updated January 14, 2018 - 11:10 pm

A sea of steel gray and gold flooded the Fremont Street Experience as thousands of fans turned out for the Golden Knights’ fan fest Sunday afternoon.

“It’s an awesome experience, it really is,” said Chad Bajurin, who attended the downtown Las Vegas event with his wife, Monica.

The event, in partnership with the D Las Vegas, was the NHL team’s first fan fest. The Golden Knights originally planned to hold it on Oct. 3, just before the start of their season-opening game. But they canceled the fan-themed celebration in the wake of the shooting on the Strip two days earlier.

The boom of drums echoed throughout the canopy as fans let out a roaring “Go, Knights, go!” The team’s mascot, a Gila monster named Chance, cruised above the Fremont Street crowd on a zip line.

A large, inflatable Golden Knights jersey stood near a truck where fans lined up to buy team gear. Nearby, kids tried out their slap shots on an inflatable shootout game.

Chad Bajurin said the Henderson couple has been waiting a long time to see a professional team in Las Vegas.

“They did a great job putting it all together,” Monica Bajurin said of the festivities.

Fans crammed against metal barricades Sunday afternoon as Golden Knights players walked a red carpet underneath the Fremont Street Experience canopy. Players made frequent stops to sign autographs and take photos with fans.

At the end of the red carpet, near the stage, stood 7-year-old Colton in a Knights hoodie and shiny-gold, high-top shoes. He attended the event with his dad.

“You’re my favorite!” he told William Karlsson, the team’s leading goal scorer. Eyes wide and mouth open, the Las Vegas boy watched in awe as the Swedish center signed his hat.

Jennifer McMillan of Las Vegas brought her two sons, Slayden, 10, and Brennan, 2, to meet some of their favorite players.

“We’re big fans,” McMillan said. “We actually went to their very first practice and we fell in love ever since.”

The Golden Knights sit atop the Western Conference with a 29-10-3 record, second-best in the NHL.

Golden Knights star goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said he is no longer surprised by the strong support the team receives from the local community.

“From the first game, every game, it’s been packed,” he said. “The support we’ve gotten, you know, it’s been tremendous.”

Derek Stevens, co-owner of the D Las Vegas, said he plans to make the fan fest an annual event.

“You know, I grew up in Detroit and I got to see what hockey does in a community, and I think this town was ready for a major league franchise and the fact that they’re this good just makes it even better,” Stevens said. “This is just spectacular.”

Steve Sisolak, chairman of the Clark County Commission, said no one anticipated the level of support on display Sunday.

“It’s incredible. This just shows you how much the town, the city, is behind the Golden Knights,” he said of Sunday’s turnout. “It’s euphoria. I mean, it’s contagious. It’s just the best thing you’ve seen in Vegas for a long, long time.”

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer faces unique challenges this season during the playoffs.
Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer faces unique challenges this season during the Stanley Cup playoffs. DeBoer, who was hired by Vegas on Jan. 15, had the team jelling before the coronavirus pandemic paused the season. Now, the Knights are counting on him to find the right buttons to push again. during the strangest postseason in NHL history.
DeBoer on Pacioretty's timetable for return, Martinez on team camaraderie - VIDEO
Vegas Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer discusses how the team has performed without their leading scorer, Max Pacioretty, and talks about when he could return to the team. Defenseman Alec Martinez discusses what the team needs to do on the ice to stay competitive and more. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DeBoer, Smith preview their match against the Avalanche - VIDEO
The Vegas Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer and forward Reilly Smith preview their upcoming game against the Colorado Avalanche at a news conference on Friday. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights on fan-less atmosphere
The Golden Knights talk about the atmosphere inside Rogers Place in the NHL Edmonton bubble.
Golden Knights want to win the round robin - VIDEO
Fleury, Stone star in Apple commercial for iPhone 11 Pro - Video
Apple gave the Las Vegas Review-Journal a sneak preview of a commercial of theirs starring Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and forward Mark Stone. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights on unity demonstrations during the Anthem
Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore and head coach Pete DeBoer comment on the team's plans to demonstrate during the National Anthem and the importance of displaying unity.
Knights coach gives an update on Max Pacioretty's status - VIDEO
Golden Knights head coach updates on the status of Max Pacioretty during a news conference. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights fan sendoff - VIDEO
Golden Knights fans gather for a sendoff as the team heads to Edmonton for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Golden Knights wrap training camp - VIDEO
The Golden Knights have wrapped up training camp and will depart to their playoff bubble in Edmonton Sunday.
Oscar Dansk staying with William Karlsson - Video
William Karlsson and Oscar Dansk go over their experiencing rooming together during the pandemic. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Shea Theodore on re-energizing his game - Video
Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore goes over his decision to play, and coach Pete DeBoer says he believes Theodore can make it back to the level he was at before the pause. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights react to Seattle Kraken - Video
The Golden Knights react to the new name of the Seattle expansion team in the NHL. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nicolas Roy Talks Performance This Season - Video
Nicolas Roy goes over his performance this season and being able to prove himself.
Knights Alex Tuch Excited to Compete at Full Strength - VIDEO
Vegas Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch talks about returning to full strength, the synergy he and his line are playing with and getting a second chance to prove himself in the playoffs. Head coach Pete DeBoer gives his thoughts on Tuch's return as well. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights' Zach Whitecloud takes pride in executing on the ice - VIDEO
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud talks about getting support from his coaches, executing effectively on the ice, especially on the penalty kill. He also explains how he attempts to curb his love for ice cream ahead of the NHL playoffs. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Max Pacioretty misses Golden Knights scrimmage on Monday - video
Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty did not participate in Monday morning’s scrimmage at City National Arena due to unknown reasons.
Golden Knights Hold Scrimmage At Practice - Video
Golden Knights players and coach Pete DeBoer talk about holding a training camp scrimmage at City National Arena.
Golden Knights call ups battle for tickets to Edmonton - VIDEO
VGK 3rd line ready to go - VIDEO
Golden Knights need to work on the PK - VIDEO
Marc-André Fleury makes his training camp debut - VIDEO
Jack Dugan signs contract with VGK
Forward Jack Dugan signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Golden Knights, the team announced Thursday. Dugan was a fifth-round pick by the Knights in 2017 and announced in May he was forgoing his final two seasons at Providence to turn pro.
Knights on leaving their families behind during playoffs
Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner and forward Jonathan Marchessault share their thoughts on leaving their families behind for the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Peter DeBoer on Choosing a Team Captain - Video
Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer speaks on choosing a team captain before the start of the next season.
Robin Lehner on Training Camp - Video
Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner talks about the progress of training camp and head coach Peter Deboer speaks about Lehner's performance at practice.
Golden Knights playing fast-paced hockey in return to practice - VIDEO
Golden Knights' defenseman Nate Schmidt and head coach Pete DeBoer talk about the team hitting the ground running with fast-paced practices in return to the ice. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights prospect Peyton Krebs on his goal to make the NHL, adjusting to Las Vegas
Vegas Golden Knights prospect Peyton Krebs talks about adjusting to Las Vegas weather and aiming to make it in the NHL and head coach Pete DeBoer weighs in on the level of skill he's seen from Krebs so far. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Golden Knights began their second training camp of the season on Monday
The Knights’ high level of participation in small-group workouts in the past month helped the team hit the ground running Monday.
Golden Knights On New Phase of Practice - Video
The Golden Knights head into phase 3 of their practice and are looking to quickly get back into their groove before heading back on the ice.
Golden Knights back to full health - Video
The Golden Knights are currently in Phase Two of the NHL's return to play plan and are allowed to have 12 players skating at one time.
Las Vegas' NHL hub chances in jeopardy over spikes in COVID-19 - Video
Golden Knights writer Ben Gotz and Heidi Fang discuss the rumors that Las Vegas is no longer a frontrunner for an NHL hub city due to spikes in COVID-19 and what that means for the Vegas Golden Knights. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NHL expands Phase Two workouts to 12 players
The NHL expanded Phase Two workouts to 12 players on Tuesday. The league hopes to begin training camps July 10 before its 24-team postseason tournament starts in two hub cities.
Ryan Reaves on What Can Be Done to Bring Cultural Diversity Hockey - VIDEO
Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves talks about signing a two-year extension with the team, his personal experiences with racism as a hockey player and what the NHL and individual hockey teams could do to bring more cultural diversity to the sport. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kelly McCrimmon on BLM Movement - Video
Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon Talks Team Responsibility for BLM Movement and what role sports plays as a whole.
Kelly McCrimmon Talks Reaves Extension
Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon talks Ryan Reaves signing a two-year extension.
Kelly McCrimmon Comments on VGK Preseason - Video
Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon talks Golden Knights preseason and the possibility of Las Vegas becoming a hub city for playoffs.
Golden Knights' Ryan Reaves speaks out on Black Lives Matter protests, racism - Video
Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves joined the "Sheriff, Lawless and Some Guy Named Dave" podcast to discuss his thoughts on the recent Black Lives Matter protests and racism he has faced in his life.
Golden Knights' Mark Stone wants to "compete for the Stanley Cup" - Video
Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone spoke with media via Zoom to discuss returning to the ice and how he feels his team is prepared to compete for the Stanley Cup.
Golden Knights changes under Peter DeBoer
Las Vegas Review-Journal's Golden Knights reporter Ben Gotz breaks down a few ways the team has changed since head coach Peter DeBoer took over earlier this year after Gerard Gallant's firing.
Bill Foley believes the Golden Knights will be fine in new playoff format - Video
Vegas Golden Knights Chairman and CEO Bill Foley said he believe his team will adjust just fine to the new playoff structure.
Welcome Henderson Silver Knights - Video
The Golden Knights’ new AHL team will be called the Henderson Silver Knights.
Golden Knights playoff picture - Video
The Knights are one of four teams in the Western Conference to receive a bye and will play round-robin games against St. Louis, Colorado and Dallas to determine the top four seeds.
Outline for NHL’s return-to-play plan - Video
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman outlined the format for the expanded 24-team postseason in a televised news conference Tuesday, including details of the round robin involving the Golden Knights.
Knights’ empathy questioned
A sports talk host called this week a public relations disaster for the Knights and a tourism official said it may shorten the honeymoon period between the team and its devoted fan base.
THE LATEST