Las Vegas has its expansion team, its GM in George McPhee, an assistant GM in Kelly McCrimmon and the makings of a brand new staff that is set to help the team hit the ground running come the 2017-18 season. That’s not to mention a brand new, state-of-the-art arena located just minutes from the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.
In the time leading up to the T-Mobile Arena hosting the inaugural game for the Las Vegas NHL franchise, the building is slated to be the site for a number of events, from UFC 202 to the 2016 iHeartRadio music festival, which will feature acts such as U2, Drake, Florida Georgia Line and Billy Idol. But once those events are over, and even before the Las Vegas team hits the ice, the arena is set to host NHL action this coming season.
The Los Angeles Kings’ Frozen Fury exhibition series will head to the T-Mobile Arena in early October, and well ahead of the pre-season series of games, the arena laid its ice for the very first time. Check it out in this new time-lapse video:
If it seems rather early for the arena to have laid the ice, that’s because it was done in part for an open house event that was held at T-Mobile Arena earlier this week. The idea was to show season ticket holders, of which there are nearly 16,000 partial- and full-season ticket holders, what the brand new arena would look like when they visited for NHL action.
“People are coming in, we’re greeting them at the door and doing our best to let them take a self-guided tour of the arena themselves,” Murray Craven, an advisor for the Las Vegas franchise, told the Las Vegas Sun’s Case Keefer. “This is our first real interaction with volumes of people. Before, we’ve only had smatterings here and there.”
It didn’t take long for the new surface to be put to good use, either. Craven, a former NHLer, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Steve Carp that the ice surface was in good shape — “wasn’t chippy, and it wasn’t soft” — and it got it’s first real test when roughly 100 youth hockey players from the Nevada Storm became the first to skate on the ice.
“NHL ice is better than any other ice,” Storm hockey director Gabe Gauthier said. “And this is NHL-quality ice.”
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