86°F
weather icon Clear

Golden Knights thank fans with event at Fremont Street Experience

Updated June 13, 2018 - 9:56 pm

It definitely wasn’t a parade. And there weren’t any expletive-filled speeches from players that turned into social media gold, unlike the Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup celebration.

But make no mistake, the Golden Knights threw a party Wednesday.

The team held a “Stick Salute to Vegas” event in appreciation of their fans at Fremont Street Experience that was part day club and part pep rally.

“Once we had a chance to step back and really think about how this community supported our franchise every single day, it felt like, ‘You know what? We’ve got to do something,’ ” team president Kerry Bubolz said. “We just put our heads together and started thinking through what that would look like … and we’re going to do an official stick salute to our fans.”

The Knights set a record for an expansion team with 51 victories and 109 points in the regular season and captured the Pacific Division title.

Their run ended in the Stanley Cup Final last week against Washington, which won the best-of-seven series 4-1 for its first championship in franchise history.

The city of Las Vegas and Clark County were planning a parade for the team prior to the Knights’ series-ending 4-3 loss on June 7 before the team declined to participate.

An estimated crowd of 7,500 stood under the canopy covering Fremont Street as the Las Vegas Valley baked under a heat advisory Wednesday.

The event featured 18 players, along with coach Gerard Gallant and general manager George McPhee.

Chance, the team’s mascot, also appeared, along with broadcasters Dave Goucher and Shane Hnidy, the Drumbots and the Golden Aces cheerleaders.

Fans cheered as highlights of the team’s record-breaking season played on a video board.

They buzzed at the sound of the introduction music used before players took the ice at home games.

They roared when players appeared on stage to toss T-shirts into the crowd and thank the city for their first year.

“It’s the best place to be, by far, in front of these fans,” defenseman Shea Theodore told the crowd.

“I tell you guys, this is the most fun time I’ve ever had in my life. All of you all are a part of it,” defenseman Nate Schmidt said. “These guys behind me. I just wanted to say thank you so much.”

Hundreds of fans wore the jerseys of the players they watched on the ice all year. At least two wore cardboard beer cases on their heads, with the cases cut out to mimic the Golden Knights’ helmet logo.

A few children sat on their parents’ shoulders to get a better view of their favorite players.

In the case of 5-year-old Braxten Cinquegrani, perched atop his dad, his favorite “player” is probably Chance.

“He’s always rooting at the pregame,” said his dad, 34-year-old Branden Cinquegrani.

The expansion team’s improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final was amazing for the born-and-raised Las Vegan father and his son.

“I get to bring my son down here, and he gets to experience it, and remember that,” Cinquegrani said.

Las Vegas resident Mandy Swanson and her 14-year-old daughter Alex arrived at Wednesday’s event early to get a spot near the front. It was an opportunity to show their gratitude to the organization after the events of Oct. 1.

“It doesn’t matter what they did,” Mandy Swanson said. “The fact they brought this city together, we just had to come support them. Everyone’s had a great time and wanted to be together and let off some steam about the Cup.”

Lifelong hockey fan Kealy Bush, 34, screamed each player’s name as they were introduced. The team’s chemistry was unlike anything she had seen.

“It’s unexplainable how awesome it was to just watch them come together and be like they’ve been playing together for years,” Bush said.

The team brings a sense of community to a transient city, she said. She called herself a devoted sports fan before the Knights came to town. Yet the connection she feels to the team is deeper than any other team she’s followed, Bush said.

Before the Knights, she didn’t understand the use of “we” by fans when speaking of their favorite team.

Now she gets it.

“I speak about them as if I’m part of their team,” Bush said.

The team holds a special place in her heart and her family. Her 12-year-old daughter, a cancer survivor, was going to skip a summer camp for other pediatric cancer survivors if the Knights played a Game 7 or hosted a Stanley Cup celebratory parade.

“I’m like, ‘Honey, you have to go.’ And she’s like, ‘No. I can’t miss my boys playing,’” Bush said.

As Bush spoke, her 5-year-old son Brady walked up to her and hugged her.

“He’s so upset that there’s no more games to watch,” she said.

They’re counting down the days until their favorite team returns.

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

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter. Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knights Sell "Battle Worn Armor" To Season Ticket Holders - Video
The Golden Knights sell their "battle worn" apparel throughout both of the teams seasons including pucks, sticks, helmets and skates.
Summerlin 4th of July Parade - VIDEO
On July 4th Summerlin will be hosting the 25th annual Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade, an event that has grown massively over the years
Golden Knights McPhee talks on the first day of NHL free agency - VIDEO
Golden Knights incoming president of operations George McPhee addresses the media as free agency starts.
Golden Knights Trade Colin Miller as Development Camp ends - VIDEO
George McPhee speaks to the media following the end of the Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Development Camp Day 4 - VIDEO
Nic Hague stands out at day 4 of Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Hold First Scrimmage of Development Camp - Video
The first of three scrimmages was held at the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writers Adam Hill and David Schoen discuss what stood out to them.
Golden Knights George McPhee Discusses Erik Haula Trade - Video
A day after it was announced that Erik Haula had been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, incoming President of Hockey Operations George McPhee spoke to the media discussing the move.
Golden Knights Trade Erik Haula - Video
The Golden Knights have traded Erik Haula to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for prospect Nicolas Roy. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writer Adam Hill discuss the trade.
Golden Knights Coaches Looking for Veterans to Step Up in Development Camp - Video
Day two of the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp is in the books. Director of Player Development Wil Nichol says his staff is looking for the veterans of the camp to step up and be leaders to the younger guys, while at the same time doing their best to impress the coaching staff.
Golden Knights Draft Player with Strong Hockey Bloodlines - Video
The Golden Knights drafted Mason Primeau in the 5th round of the 2019 NHL Draft. Primeau is no stranger to professional hockey, both his dad (Wayne Primeau) and his uncle (Keith Primeau) played in the NHL.
Golden Knights Kelly McCrimmon Talks Development Camp - VIDEO
Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon talks about what he expects from everyone at development camp on their first day.
Golden Knights Dylan Coghlan On Veteran Experience - VIDEO
Golden Knights defenseman Dylan Coghlan talks about his veteran experience playing in Chicago and development camp.
Golden Knights President George McPhee talks about Williams Karlsson's 8 year deal
George McPhee presser highlights June 25, 2019.
Golden Knights Center William Karlsson speaks to media about 8 year contract
William Karlsson presser highlights June 25, 2019.
Golden Knights Development Camp at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada
For the third consecutive year, Vegas Golden Knights Development Camp participants participated in a special community event at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
2019 NHL Awards Highlight Video
The 2019 NHL Awards took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. Though Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone came close to winning the best defensive forward trophy, St. Louis Blues center Ryan O' Reilly took home the coveted Frank Selke Trophy. Jason Zucker, who was raised in Las Vegas and plays for the Minnesota Wild, accepted the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarianism. Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov took home the NHL's MVP Award. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gary Bettman discusses NHL rule changes - VIDEO
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the media after Wednesday’s Board of Governor’s meeting.
Golden Knights' Mark Stone up for Selke Trophy
Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone is a finalist for the Selke Trophy. The award goes to the best defensive forward in the NHL. Stone led the league in takeaways last season with 122. His competition is St. Louis Blues center Ryan O'Reilly... And Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron. Stone will find out if he wins Wednesday at the NHL Awards.
Vegas Golden Knights announce preseason schedule
The Golden Knights announced their preseason schedule Tuesday, as well as the date of their rookie camp and training camp.
Mark Stone and Stanley Cup visit MGM Grand
Mark Stone took photos and signed autographs for Golden Knights fans at the MGM Grand on Sunday. The Stanley Cup also made its way into the MGM Grand Main Lobby. The most revered trophy in hockey is on display to celebrate the upcoming 2019 NHL awards at the Mandalay Bay Center on June 19th. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights, Raiders Unite for Charity Softball Game - Video Highlights
Golden Knights and Raiders players alike were more than excited to join together in a charity softball game to raise money for pediatric cancer. Players from both teams cannot wait for the Raiders to arrive in Las Vegas so more joint events can take place.
Golden Knights and Raiders Raise over $100K in Charity Softball Game - Video Highlights
In the first-ever Battle For Vegas Charity Softball Game, the Golden Knights and Raiders raised $136,000 for the Tyler Robinson Foundation. At the end of the nights, it was the Raiders that raised the Battle For Vegas trophy, after beating the Golden Knights 20-16. Take a look at some of the highlights from the game!
Golden Knights' Reilly Smith Ready to Battle for Vegas - Video
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith is ready to Battle For Vegas in a charity softball game that will feature various celebrity athletes, including teammates Jonathan Marchessault, Ryan Reaves and Erik Haula. Smith's team will face off against former Raider Marcus Allen and his teammates, including Vontaze Burfict, Josh Jacobs and Maurice Hurst. The charity softball game is set to take place on Saturday, June 15th at the Las Vegas Ballpark.
Golden Knights Will Have a New Home in Henderson - Video
The Golden Knights are saying goodbye to the Henderson Convention Center and hello to the team's new hockey facility that will be located in the second largest city in Nevada. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights and Henderson make deal on new facility - VIDEO
Henderson City Council unanimously approved a lease agreement with the Vegas Golden Knights to build and operate an indoor ice hockey facility in downtown Henderson, Tuesday evening. ( Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Kelly McCrimmon Gets Promoted to Golden Knight General Manager - Video
The Vegas Golden Knights have announced that Kelly McCrimmon has been promoted to General Manager of the team, effective September 1, 2019. Regarding his new role, McCrimmon will represent the Golden Knights at the NHL's General Managers Meetings and will be the point of contact for other league GMs.
Golden Knights Say an "Awful Call" Cost Them the Series - Video
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant and Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault believe that an "awful call" by the officials cost them game 7.
Golden Knights Fans Watch Game 7 at T-Mobile - VIDEO
Golden Knights went through a roller coaster in game 7 which lead to the Knights loss 5-4 in overtime.
Sharks & Golden Knights fans fired up for Game 7
Ahead of Game 7 in San Jose, Sharks and Golden Knights fans get hyped for the game in the fan zone at SAP Center.
Golden Knights prepare for Game 7 in San Jose - VIDEO
Vegas Golden Knigths players and the head coach talk about their mindset ahead of facing the San Jose Sharks in Game 7 on the road at the SAP Center. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Knights' Gallant Calls DeBoer a "clown" - VIDEO
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant calls Sharks coach Pete DeBoer a "clown" and says his comments are a little "unclassy" for him in response to being called the master chirper for the Knights. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights fans father outside T-Mobile Arena waiting for game 6 against the Sharks
Golden Knights gather outside the T-Mobile Arena ready to watch game 6 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks.
Knights aim to close out Sharks series at home - VIDEO
The Vegas Golden Knights players and head coach Gerard Gallant spoke about what needs to be done ahead of Game 6 at the T-Mobile Arena to clinch the series. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gerard Gallant talks ahead of Game 6
The Golden Knights coach talked about his team’s upcoming game with the San Jose Sharks after Saturday’s practice.
Coach Gallant Speaks to media about game 5 against the Sharks - VIDEO
Golden Knight's coach Gerard Gallant speaks at City National Arena following thursday's game 5 against the San Jose Sharks.
Golden Knights Fans Watch Game 5 At Henderson Pavilion - Video
Golden Knights fans gather at the Henderson Pavilion to watch game 5 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fans prepare for Game 5 of the Golden Knights-Sharks series
Golden Knights and Sharks fans took part in pregame festivities at the SAP Center in San Jose ahead of Game 5 of the playoff series.
Golden Knights Fans Land in San Jose - VIDEO
Four Golden Knights fans who traveled from Las Vegas talk about the experiences they've had in San Jose with fans and the police ahead of Game 5 and give their predictions for the final score of the game.
Coach Gallant speaks after practice, as the Golden Knights prep for Game 5
Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant speaks to media after the team's open skate.
THE LATEST
Free agency fallout — Golden Edge Podcast

Review-Journal reporters Ben Gotz and Adam Hill discuss the team’s (lack of) activity, plus ask what is going on with restricted free agent forward Nikita Gusev?