Five months after being awarded an NHL franchise, Las Vegas' expansion team finally has a name. The Vegas Golden Knights will be the city's first major professional sports team when they begin play in the 2017-18 season.
Golden Knights owner Bill Foley made the announcement, alongside NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and team general manager George McPhee, in front of a raucous crowd outside the recently constructed T-Mobile Arena, the team's new home, located just off the Las Vegas Strip.
"We now have an identity," Foley said just before the announcement. "My whole idea was to create a logo and a name that was powerful that would epitomize the warrior class. The Knights are the epitome of the warrior class, the top of the line in terms of defending the realm, defending the unprotected. This is all part of the culture we want to create with the hockey team."
The NHL announced that Las Vegas would be home to the league's 31st team after a board of governors meeting in the city on June 22. Not only will the Golden Knights be the NHL's first expansion team since the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild during the 2000-01 season, but they also will become the first of the four major North American professional sports leagues to have a team in Las Vegas.
Foley said he went with "Vegas" instead of "Las Vegas" for the NHL team name because that is how most locals refer to the city.
Jerseys for the Golden Knights will not be for sale until mid-February, at the earliest, Foley said. But other items, such as T-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, polo shirts, shorts and gym bags, were sold outside the arena shortly after the announcement was made on Tuesday night.
The team has already sold more than 14,000 season tickets and most of the luxury seats inside the 17,500-seat T-Mobile Arena for next season. While Foley expects games to be popular destinations for traveling fans, he also believes that 85 percent to 90 percent of the crowds during the regular season will be made up of season-ticket holders.