Updated June 26, 2020 - 7:00 pm
Lifeguard Arena is about “80 percent” done, according to Mike Petersen, part owner of contractor Gillett Construction. His company aims to turn the building, which is located in downtown Henderson at Water Street and Atlantic Avenue, over to the Knights the first week of September.
He said Friday he expects the team to take two-to-four weeks to move in, meaning Lifeguard Arena should open its doors to the public in early October. When fans are allowed in, they’ll notice a lot of similarities to the Golden Knights’ Summerlin headquarters: City National Arena.
“A rink is a rink,” said Petersen, whose company has built both facilities. “If you’re married to that size of a space, you’re kind of bound by it. But we have had some incremental changes.”
Like its Summerlin counterpart, Lifeguard Arena will be a two-story building with two NHL-sized rinks, a MacKenzie River Pizza restaurant, a team store and a coffee shop. It will serve as the practice facility for the Silver Knights, the Golden Knights’ local American Hockey league affiliate.
Lifeguard Arena, at 120,500 square feet, is 18 percent smaller than City National Arena. That’s mainly because it has half the team space for offices and other amenities its sibling does.
The two rinks at Lifeguard Arena have a capacity of about 360 and will use the same cooling system City National Arena and T-Mobile Arena do.The cooling system costs around $3.5 million.
The MacKenzie River Pizza will overlook the rinks and hold around 220 people. Unlike the one at City National Arena, it’s forward-facing with a balcony that overlooks Water Street.
The facility will also have eight locker rooms in addition to the one used by the Silver Knights. The organization is hoping to use Lifeguard Arena to expand its youth programs into Henderson.
The things still left undone are almost all interior. Painting has just begun, and the flooring (which will be similar to City National Arena’s) needs to be installed. The rinks are also both being prepared for ice, a lengthy process. The first one should be finished around mid-August.
A few flourishes for the Silver Knights also need to be added. Drawings for the locker room came in late last week. The city kicked in an additional $3.2 million to its initial $10.75 million investment in the arena in April to further accommodate the team.
Overall, the project is near completion after being approved by the Henderson City Council in May 2019. Petersen said the COVID-19 pandemic added some extra cost, but his team was able to stay productive.
The company hired additional staff to help monitor and cleanse the site.
“We’ve pushed through to this point,” Petersen said. “We’re still on track. We’re still on schedule.”
Lifeguard Arena facts
— What: Silver Knights practice facility and team headquarters
— Where: Downtown Henderson, at Water Street and Atlantic Avenue
— Highlights: Two NHL-sized rinks, each with a capacity of 360; a MacKenzie River Pizza restaurant, with a capacity of 220; a team store; a coffee shop; eight locker rooms in addition to the one used by the Silver Knights
— Size: Two stories, 120,500 square feet
— Contractor: Gillett Construction
Bettman hopes agreements come “quickly”
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said before the league’s draft lottery on NBC Sports Network he hopes there’s a return to play agreement “very, very quickly.”
The NHL and players association are negotiating the health and safety protocols for Phase Three (training camps) and Phase Four (games). Camps have a targeted start date of July 10.
The league also needs to select the two cities where it will stage its 24-team postseason tournament. Las Vegas is one candidate, along with Toronto, Edmonton, Chicago and Los Angeles.
“We’ve been working very hard with the players association to isolate and focus on hub cities, to make sure we have the right protocols in effect and to make sure we have all the surrounding agreements necessary and appropriate for us to return to play in place,” Bettman said on NBCSN. “It’s been a very collaborative effort.”