Before he served as captain for the inaugural Las Vegas Thunder, Jim Kyte spent seven years manning the blue line for the first iteration of the Winnipeg Jets and played in the first Winnipeg whiteout.
It has been a quarter-century since a Canadian-based franchise has hoisted the Stanley Cup, which has become something of an issue north of the border.
It wasn’t exactly Joe Namath guaranteeing a victory at the Miami Touchdown Club three days before Super Bowl III. But when the Golden Knights’ Jonathan Marchessault spoke his mind before Game 2 of the Western Conference Final, the Golden Knights responded.
From 1993 to 1999, the Las Vegas Thunder shared the Thomas Mack Center with the UNLV basketball team, outdrew the Rebels at the turnstiles and showed that pro hockey not only could survive in the Las Vegas desert but also could flourish.
AJ Mleczko provided insight during the first six games of the Winnipeg-Nashville series as an NBC hockey analyst, which makes her something of an expert on the Knights’ opponent in the Western Conference Final that begins Saturday.
Heading into Game 7 of the Winnipeg-Nashville second-round series, the home teams have won 31 games in the NHL playoffs and the away teams have won 33.
T-Mobile is quickly building a reputation as one of the NHL’s most deafening arenas. It’s like the amplifiers of the fictional rock band Spinal Tap: Where the roar in most buildings tops out at 10, it goes to 11 on Knights’ home ice.
It has been 28 years — 27 if you count the Rebels’ return to the Final Four in 1991 when they lost to Duke — since a local sports team has captivated and galvanized Las Vegas in the manner of the Golden Knights.
Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals was televised live and in prime time on NBC audience. It was first time the Golden Knights skated in front of a national TV audience.
They don’t throw chickens onto the ice at the RDV Sportsplex in Maitland, Florida, where Golden Knights forward Ryan Carpenter skated growing up. Not yet anyway.