Golden Knights’ ‘trains’ running as team prepares for 1st season

For a moment, think of Bill Foley not as the owner of an NHL expansion team but rather a stationmaster who is ultimately responsible for numerous trains leaving on time.

The Golden Knights majority owner likes that analogy. Not so much that he likes playing with trains, but for the symbolism of just how busy the team is as it prepares for its inaugural season in October.

“The difference is all these trains are going to the same destination,” Foley said. “Some are going 100 mph, some are going 10 (mph). But you have to make sure they get there safely and on time.”

There are well over a dozen such “trains” that are currently running. But Foley talked about some of the key projects the Knights are involved with and when those trains can expect to reach their destination.


 

AHL AFFILIATE

The team is finalizing an agreement, reportedly with the Chicago Wolves, to serve as the Golden Knights’ American Hockey League affiliate. The Wolves, who are independently owned, currently are affiliated with the St. Louis Blues. Negotiations have been ongoing for two months, and the plan will be for eight or nine players from the Golden Knights to play for the Wolves.

It is a short-term solution until the Golden Knights have enough players to stock their own roster. At that point, they would seek to establish their own affiliate closer to Las Vegas.

“We’re real close,” Foley said, not mentioning either the Wolves or the Blues. “We had a meeting with the NHL team we would share the affiliate with, and we’ve had lots of discussions with the owners of the AHL team. We’ve agreed on all the terms, but nothing is officially signed.

“We might have something to announce after the (NHL) All-Star Game.”

PRESEASON SCHEDULE

Foley confirmed the Golden Knights will play seven preseason games, including three at T-Mobile Arena from mid-September through early October.

The home games will be with the Los Angeles Kings (date to be determined), the Colorado Avalanche on Sept. 28 and the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 1. The road games are at Colorado on Sept. 19, at San Jose on Sept. 21 and at the Anaheim Ducks on Sept. 24. The final road game, expected to be against the Vancouver Canucks, is still pending based on whether the Canucks and Kings play each other in China.

It’s also why the date with the Kings is undetermined. If Los Angeles goes to China, the game with the Golden Knights will be Sept. 17. If there’s no trip, the game will be Sept. 26.

JERSEYS

Foley said the team has pretty much settled on its design and color scheme for its home and away uniforms. The uniforms, which will be produced by adidas, the NHL’s new official supplier, are expected to be unveiled in June, in time for the expansion draft.

But according to Nehme E. Abouzeid, the team’s vice president for business, the official sweaters won’t be available for purchase until September.

However, a version of the team jersey is being sold at some Target stores in Southern Nevada. The jersey, which is black and has the team’s crest and is available only in youth sizes, is not the final product. Nor is it a knockoff, as the NHL’s licensing division has approved its production, distribution and sale.

“We can’t control the inventory in every big box store,” Abouzeid said. “But we did check with Target, and we checked with the NHL, and even though it’s not the jersey we plan to wear, it is approved by the league, so we get a cut of the sales.”

“One-31st,” Foley said with a laugh.

TV/RADIO

The Golden Knight have had discussions with Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket for a place to televise their games, as well as discussions with several local radio stations to broadcast the games.

“We hope to have an offer for television within the next week or so,” Foley said. “We have territorial rights for TV in all of Nevada along with Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Northern Arizona and Eastern California. Ideally, I’d like to see us televise our games in each of those markets. I want us to be the team of the Rocky Mountains.”

As for radio, Foley said it might take a little longer because the team wants to make sure it is not pre-empted on its broadcasts. It’s also looking to create a Spanish broadcast to connect with Las Vegas’ Latino community.

“We’re still talking and looking at the proposals,” he said. “But I expect us to be heard in both English and Spanish every game with no problem.”

TRADEMARK

The team is talking to College of Saint Rose, a small Catholic school in Albany, New York, about an arrangement to allow the hockey team to use the Golden Knights name.

When the name was announced Nov. 22, Saint Rose, a Division II school that does not sponsor hockey, protested that Foley had used the name without permission. The U.S. Patent and Trademark office denied the team’s applications, citing confusion with the college, whose teams also are called the Golden Knights.

“We’re in contact with them, and we’re working on a joint agreement, much like we worked out with Clarkson (University),” said Foley, adding that the team’s and the NHL’s attorneys are revising their application to submit to the patent office this spring.

When asked if Saint Rose will be taken care of financially, Foley said, “Let’s just say we’re going to agree to live and let live.”

Contact Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.

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