At the halfway point of the 2017–2018 NHL season, the Vegas Golden Knights have already achieved a lot of firsts. They’re the first major league sports team in Las Vegas, they’re the first NHL expansion team to … (Google that phrase and “Vegas Golden Knights” for at least a dozen results) and, currently, they’re in first place in the NHL’s Pacific Division standings. The team’s streak of remarkable firsts is about to be celebrated with another: the first-ever Vegas Golden Knights Fan Fest at the Fremont Street Experience.
On January 14 from 3 to 5 p.m., the area under the canopy will host hockey festivities including a red carpet; shooting cages; exclusive merchandise; the Vegas Golden Knights mascot, Chance; special guests including head coach Gerard Gallant, CEO and chairman Bill Foley, president Kerry Bubolz, and AT&T SportsNet broadcasters Dave Goucher and Shane Hnidy; and, according to organizers, every player on the team.
“This is a once-a-year type of deal,” says The D Las Vegas’ CEO, Derek Stevens. “[Fan Fest] gives everybody in the community an opportunity to come down and actually see the players without their helmets on and really celebrate.”
Stevens was an early supporter of the Vegas Golden Knights. In June, he inked a six-year agreement to cement the D as the team’s exclusive Downtown casino partner … four months before the first puck even dropped. Fan Fest has always been part of the plan, says Stevens, as are the D’s game-day viewing parties at Longbar, a $100,000 donation to the Vegas Golden Knights Foundation and additional events including individual player meet-and-greets on the property.
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Oscar Dansk, who earned the team its first shutout on October 27 and was placed on Injured Reserve just days later, was the star of a pre–Fan Fest autograph signing at Longbar on January 11.
“[Las Vegas] been really incredible,” says Dansk. “I played in just four games and I can still feel how tight-knit the community is and how good they’ve been. We [the team] just want to give good back to them.”
With Sunday’s Fan Fest approaching and many analysts predicting that the Vegas Golden Knights will make the NHL playoffs this season, it seems the team will continue to do just that.
Vegas Golden Knights Fan Fest at Fremont Street Experience, 3–5 p.m., free and open to the public, thed.com