On Tuesday, Nov. 22, the majority owner of the NHL’s newest franchise, Bill Foley, announced that the Golden Knights is the first major professional sports team to call Las Vegas home.
The Golden Knights logo is a sleek, modern design, featuring a gold and gray knight’s helmet set in the center of black shield with a golden border. A V for Vegas is subtly worked into the structure of the helmet.
Vegas’ logo lacks the classic look of some of the original NHL franchises such as the New York Rangers or Montreal Canadiens, but has a bold look that gives it a unique appeal. The logo reflects the persona of the knight that Foley reveres.
“The knight protects the unprotected, the knight defends the realm, the knight never gives up, never gives in, always advances and never retreats,” Foley said Tuesday night during a press conference to reveal the team name.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s decision to sanction the addition of a hockey team in Las Vegas has already come under a lot of criticism. For the past few years, Bettman has been seeking to add another team to the NHL.
Bettman was always one to seek nontraditional markets. Since Bettman became the commissioner in 1993, the NHL has expanded from 24 to 30 teams, all of which were located in the United States. He was the commissioner when the Quebec Nordiques moved to Colorado and the original Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix. Bettman has focused on moving teams into warm weather markets.
Despite the decision to relocate the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, Bettman has traditionally been considered unfriendly to Canadian markets. Although Canadian cities Hamilton and Quebec City were among the cities that were under consideration to be given a team, Bettman ultimately chose Las Vegas.
Bettman’s decision to spurn the hopeful Canadian cities and choose Las Vegas as the NHL’s 31st franchise became a topic of scrutiny. There was concern that a team in a warm weather market where hockey is not as popular might fail to draw a loyal fan base. Furthermore, the Arizona Coyotes’ lack of success has added suspicion as to whether a team in the American desert can be successful.
Many details are still unknown about the Vegas Golden Knights franchise, such as who the players and the head coach will be.
What is known is that Golden Knights will take part in their first season next year. They will play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. Vegas also already has its own stadium on the Las Vegas Strip, the T-Mobile Arena.
Former Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee will be Vegas’ general manager. He will be responsible for acquiring players and taking part in the expansion draft in June that will help provide the basic structure for his team.
The NHL has provided basic rules for the expansion draft. All teams across the NHL will be given an opportunity to choose an option for protecting a set number of players. They can either opt to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender or they can protect eight skaters (forwards or defensemen) and one goaltender. Players that are already protected by a no-move or no-trade clause count toward a team’s number of protected players. First-year and second-year players are exempt from being chosen in the draft. Vegas will select 30 players in the expansion draft, abiding by the NHL’s provided rules and stipulations.
In order for the Golden Knights to field a team, they will select players from the other 30 NHL teams in what is called the expansion draft. The NHL has provided basic rules for the draft. All teams across the NHL will be given an opportunity to protect a set number of players — teams can either opt to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender or, alternatively, they can protect eight skaters (forwards or defensemen) total and one goaltender. Players that are already protected by a no-move or no-trade clause count toward a team’s number of protected players. First-year and second-year players are exempt from being chosen in the draft. Players that are not protected will be eligible to be drafted. Vegas will select 30 players in the expansion draft, abiding by the NHL’s provided rules and stipulations.
For the entry-level draft, Vegas will have the same odds as the team with the third fewest points in the standings at the end of the 2016-2017 season in the draft lottery. By the end of the process, the goal is that Vegas will have an NHL-ready team to compete in the 2017-2018 season.