Visit Las Vegas celebrated the mantra #VegasIsHockey by inviting select guests to an evening at the Air Canada Centre for Game 4 of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ playoff series against the Washington Capitals.
It was an ideal setting to toast the recent announcement that professional hockey will be returning to Las Vegas in 2017-18 in the shape of the Vegas Golden Knights – not to mention the incorporation of the NHL Expansion Draft into the NHL Awards Show in Vegas as a special joint event to reveal the Golden Knights’ initial roster.
David Han, senior account manager, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, told PAX that he anticipated strong future interest in travel from Canada to Las Vegas among hockey fans. “Canadians love hockey, and Las Vegas is one of their favourite destinations,” he commented. “With the Golden Knights coming to our city next season, this will be a huge draw for Canadians.
“Certainly, fans of the seven Canadian teams – and specifically the three Pacific Division teams in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary – will be planning their future Vegas vacations around the Golden Knights’ schedule,” he continued. “Some of the hardcore hockey fans from Canada will even experience Vegas for the first time, just to see the Golden Knights.”
Han also said that ticket prices for the Golden Knights were expected to be markedly lower than those for NHL games in Canada. “While we do not have the full details of the ticket prices yet, it will be significantly less to watch the game in Las Vegas,” he said. “If you were to bring your family out to the Canucks/Leafs game, that can cost you up to $3,000. With that amount, you can fly the family for a vacation in Las Vegas, catch the game, and enjoy everything else we have to offer.”
The game, meanwhile, coincided with the announcement by the National Hockey League that the 2017 NHL Awards were to return to Las Vegas on June 21 in celebration of the best players from the 2016-17 season; the NHL Expansion Draft will also be featured in these Awards to reveal the initial roster of the Vegas Golden Knights.
Han recommended that travel professionals and hockey fanatics alike stay tuned for further announcements as the Golden Knights’ inaugural season draws closer. “We are in discussion with all Canadian teams, as well as the Golden Knights, to discuss our opportunities with inaugural games in Canada and also in Las Vegas,” he confirmed. “We will certainly make an impact with the inaugural games in the market, and build excitement within the travel trade.”
As for the game itself – the Leafs fell to a 5-4 defeat after a poor start, and travel to Washington for Game 5 of the series (now tied at 2-2) tomorrow.