89°F
weather icon Clear

Bill Foley’s commitment to Army will show in how he runs NHL team

His passion and commitment and drive and determination are defined most by that majestic and scenic place in upstate New York. It’s a spot that overlooks the Hudson River and traces its roots to 1801, when Thomas Jefferson directed plans be set in motion to establish the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Bill Foley loves the Army and everything it stands for, loves the values and discipline and traditions he learned years ago in those Norman-style buildings constructed from gray and black granite.

He lives his life within the structure of such uniformity.

It’s also how he made sports history in Las Vegas.

Foley has officially brought the town its first major league professional franchise, the National Hockey League on Wednesday making official that Las Vegas will debut its expansion team in the 2017-18 season.

It’s the culmination of a 2½-year pursuit by Foley, the 68-year old billionaire businessman and chairman of Fidelity National Financial who will build his team in the image of those standards he came to embrace as a member of The Long Gray Line.

“It’s much bigger than just a team for him,” said Foley’s wife, Carol. “It’s about the community and what this can do for Las Vegas. You get those guys from West Point together now and it’s just like it was yesterday, like time hasn’t passed. He was convinced this would be great for Las Vegas. He stuck with it and stayed true to his convictions. All of that comes from Army.”

Army engineers helped provide the infrastructure that allowed the country to grow from a weak agricultural society into the strongest industrial nation on earth. They directed the construction of the Panama Canal and supervised the Manhattan Project. They managed construction of the Manned Space Center in Houston, Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Space Shuttle complex at Edwards Air Force Base.

In other words, they build things really, really well.

So why not a hockey team in Las Vegas by a man who earned his degree in engineering at West Point?

The days and weeks and months will pass and Foley will make those hires that best shape any team. He will make those important decisions about a general manager and head coach and scouting department and marketing team and media relations arm and so on. His will be a team with as good a chance to be immediately competitive as any expansion side in league history.

But for today, the man who smiled a smile broader than those 53 miles from West Point to Manhattan when being introduced as the team owner at the Encore wants this time to represent all of Las Vegas.

He talked most about community, about the team being a major extension of how the town is perceived, about building a much larger youth hockey base, about opening those two sheets of ice at his soon-to-be-raised practice facility to everyone, about ensuring those players and their families who make Las Vegas home are intimately involved within the city’s fabric.

Wealthy and successful men often don’t have the greatest sense of patience. There is no question the expansion process wore on Foley at times. He was under strict orders from the NHL not to discuss the team or his plans publicly and, like a good solider, fell in line.

“It took a long time and it was hard not only to go through the process, but to understand it,” Foley said. “But I do now, and I’m going to be a good and supportive owner. In the military, you’re always part of a team and something bigger, working together. That way of thinking has helped me a lot in my career and building my companies. We’re going to build our team around the same philosophy.

This is more personal for me. My other endeavors have been business-related, and that’s great and you’re successful and you do a deal and it works out. But this is different. This is better. Much better. This is going to be a lot of fun.

“We’re going to be dedicated, we’re going to be focused, and we’re gong to take no prisoners. We expect to be successful early. We’re going to take care of our players, but when you go on the ice, you better win. We’ll take care of everything else.”

Trophy Point is the finest location at West Point where the past comes alive, where memorials commemorate many of the nation’s military campaigns. At its center is a spectacular view of the Hudson, and several links from the Great Chain, strung across the river during the Revolutionary War to prevent the British from advancing farther north.

George Washington ordered the chain – 1,800 feet long, 65 tons, supported by log rafts – to be used in 1778 along the waterway he strategically termed, “This is the place.”

On Wednesday, Las Vegas for the first time welcomed a major league professional sports franchise, and the man who made that possible wants the entire town, from one end to the next, to now link arms and form the chain that defines the moment.

Finally, because of the commitment and drive and determination of Bill Foley, this is the place.

Ed Graney can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be a heard on “Seat and Ed” on Fox Sports 1340 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Twitter: @edgraney

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knights' Deryk Engelland Shares Advice with Rookies - Video
Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland has some advice for rookies: “Stick with what got you there.” The veteran NHL player also recalls his first goal as a pro.
Golden Knights Continue Preseason Success with Win Over Avalanche - Video
The Golden Knights prospects are continuing to prove they are worthy of a starting position, this time with a shutout 5-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant Praises Prospects - Video
A day after the Golden Knights 6-2 preseason victory over the Arizona Coyotes, head coach Gerard Gallant discussed how impressed he is with the prospects, including defensemen Nicolas Hague and Dylan Coghlan.
Golden Knights On First Preseason Win - Video
The Golden Knights talk about their first preseason win including Max Pacioretty's hat trick and putting Malcolm Subban as the goaltender for tonight's game.
Golden Knights Zamboni Lessons 101 - Video
The Golden Knights preseason tips off on Sunday, Sept. 15 and you know what that mean, it's time to roll out the zamboni! Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a zamboni operator for the Golden Knights? Golden Edge host Cassie Soto finds out!
Allegiant Unveils Golden Knights Plane - Video
Allegiant air officially unveils its new Golden Knights airbus that will take to the skies soon.
Golden Knights Rookie Camp: 3 Takeaways - Video
Vegas Golden Knights rookies took to the ice on Friday morning for practice at City National Arena. While the rookies mainly participated in drills, it was good to see the prospects get ice time. Golden Knights beat writers David Schoen and Ben Gotz discuss their three takeaways from the practice.
Golden Knights Host Charity Golf Classic - Video
The Golden Knights held its 2019 Charity Golf Classic on Wednesday at TPC Summerlin. Before teeing off, Golden Knights players Ryan Reaves, Jonathan Marchassault and Alex Tuch said who they thought were the worst and best golfers on their team.
Ryan Reaves performs wedding ceremony
Reverand Reavo makes his debut for one time only at the Chapel of Flowers for a get married by Ryan Reaves contest.
Vegas Golden Knights President Kerry Bubolz on the Golden Edge Podcast
Review-Journal reporters Ben Gotz and David Schoen talk with Golden Knights president Kerry Bubolz about his experiences with LeBron James, the team's new initiatives, a possible MLS expansion team and more.
George McPhee Conference Call on Nikita Gusev trade - VIDEO
Golden Knights President of Operations George McPhee answers questions on a conference call about the teams most recent trade of Nikita Gusev to the New Jersey Devils.
Vegas Golden Knight's Deryk Engelland Happy to Re-Sign - Video
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland is happy to stay in Las Vegas after signing a one-year deal with the team.
Golden Aces hold Tryouts For 2019-2020 Season - Video
The Golden Aces hold tryouts for the 2019-2020 season for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knight's owner Bill Foley's House for sale in The Ridges - Real Estate Millions
Vegas Golden Knights, Fleury Make Day for Critically Ill Teenager in ESPN “My Wish” - Video
A 13-year-old Las Vegas boy who has faced Hodgkin’s lymphoma is treated to a special day by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights in a new ESPN “My Wish” Series feature debuting Wednesday, July 17, on SportsCenter. In the feature, Doron Coldwell spends a day with the team and even gets an opportunity to replace his favorite player, three-time Stanley Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury, in the net.
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
THE LATEST