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Knights’ empathy questioned after season ticket deferrals end

Updated May 21, 2020 - 3:59 am

It’s called congenital amusia, the scientific term for not being able to process pitch. The common term is tone deaf.

Charles Darwin, Ulysses S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, Pope Francis and the Irish poet William Butler Yeats were notable cases.

Judging from what has been happening off the ice this week, it may seem the Golden Knights have contracted a temporary case.

On Monday, Knights season ticket holders received notification they no longer will be allowed to defer payments on 2020-21 tickets. After the coronavirus shut everything down with a handful of games remaining in the 2019-20 season, they were given a furlough on making payments in March and April.

Full marks to the Knights for temporarily understanding.

But now icing has been waved off.

Payment was due Wednesday.

“We have had regular communication with our season ticket members throughout the pause with information regarding payment plan options and general updates as they have become available,” the Knights said in a statement. “We encourage all our members to connect with their respective service representative with questions, concerns and feedback regarding our communications or policies.“

Sweetheart deal

On Tuesday, the Henderson City Council by a 4-1 vote approved a new 6,000-seat arena for the Knights’ yet-to-be-named AHL affiliate. The team and city will split the $80 million cost. The city will own the building; the hockey team will run it and benefit from naming rights, as well as food and beverage, merchandise and premium ticket sales.

The hockey team will receive 34 dates at the arena expected to open in 2022 at the site of the current Henderson Pavilion at Green Valley and Paseo Verde parkways. The city will get 37 dates for Blues Traveler, Foghat and “Weird Al” Yankovic concerts.

In theory, both will profit.

It still mostly seems like a sweetheart deal for the Knights. This is especially true if you’re not a big believer in sports welfare, or whatever you call these public-private alliances that always seem to benefit the private partner more than the public one.

Before the vote Tuesday, the Henderson council heard more than an hour of public complaints. Er, comments.

Many who live in the area are upset that 34 hockey games and Weird Al banging on his accordion will disrupt the placid lives to which they are accustomed — to which I would only say those who live in the shadows of interstate highways usually voice similar concerns before discovering they trim 10 minutes from the office commute.

But a lot of people aren’t commuting to the office these days, a symptom of the virus shutdown.

In casting the only dissenting vote, Councilman Dan Stewart said the Knights were the right partner, but the timing and location were wrong.

Others haven’t been as kind. They say the events of the past 72 hours have made the Knights appear greedy or insensitive.

Bad timing

A sports talk host called this week a public relations disaster for the Knights. A tourism official said it may shorten the honeymoon period between the team and its devoted fan base. A vendor said he has yet to receive a check from the $500,000 pledged by the Knights to help those who could really use one during the shutdown.

The Knights, who have the fifth-highest Fan Cost Index in the NHL — it costs a family of four $559.42 to attend a game based on average ticket and concession prices — have said that check will go out when the NHL comes up with a plan on how to complete the season.

The vendor also said he was OK with not receiving the handout. That these things, no matter how well intended and how badly needed, usually take time.

It has been more than two months since Marc-Andre Fleury made a kick save and Mark Stone willed a puck into the back of somebody’s net. Nobody talks about who is playing on the checking line anymore. Everybody is tired of watching the third period meltdown against the Sharks in last year’s playoffs on NBCSN.

As uncertainly continues, frustration builds. Missteps are magnified.

Season ticket holders are told they cannot receive a refund for the remaining home games until the NHL decides if, when and how they are going to be played. Then they are asked to pony up money for next year’s games — games they may not even be allowed inside T-Mobile Arena to watch.

Couldn’t this have waited until the NHL makes an announcement about how to proceed during a virus pandemic?

Fans see a Twitter advisory that Golden Knights president Kerry Bubolz will be talking about fine wine on Instagram, and they wonder if there will be a vaccine for tone deafness, too.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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