By ALAN SNEL
With his golden armor from head to toe, you’d think 46-year-old Shawn Hickey was the Vegas Golden Knights official team knight character.
He gets plenty of photo requests from Golden Knights fans and opposing fans alike, and he’s officially sponsored by armor-making company in England called Wyrmwick.
Thing is, he’s actually a Stations Casinos bartender with the Twitter handle, “VGK_UltimateFan.”
“Always being mistaken for the Golden Knights’ official knight is a double-edged sword,” Hickey told LVSportsBiz.com before Tuesday’s Golden Knights-Blackhawks game at T-Mobile Arena. “I don’t want the team pissed off at me.”
Golden Knights president Kerry Bubolz couldn’t be less pissed off.
The team executive knows Hickey and his costume so well that he recognized a new addition to the fan’s armor Tuesday. Bubolz saw that Hickey added new thigh guards to his body armor.
“He’s the best. If we had 1,000 of them at games, it would be even more awesome,” Bubolz said.
Hickey is so well known at Wyrmwick that the company gave the $400 new leg guards for free and actually sponsors the Golden Knights fan.
“The leg guards are fresh from England. It has a new fresh armor smell,” he shared with a writer.
The Golden Knights have a Gila Monster mascot named Chance to appeal to kids and they roll out a knight wearing a suit of armor to lead a march from the Brooklyn Bridge in front of New York-New York hotel-casino to T-Mobile Arena before home games.
Hickey enjoys the pre-game march, so he joins in with the fans and the team’s knight character. But even a security guard at New York-New York thought Hickey was the team’s character when he asked the fan-in-armor, “When does the march start?”
Hickey said he will get five or six photo opp requests every time he walks the march.
And sometimes tourists on the Las Vegas Strip think Hickey is one of the characters trying to make a living off posing with visitors and drawing tips.
“I had a guy try to give me $20,” Hickey said. “I said, ‘Dude, that’s not me.’ ”
Hickey estimated that his complete knight suit of armor costs about $1,500. But that’s about half of his season ticket plan, which costs about $3,000 a year.
And Hickey is committed. He signed up for five years as a season ticketholder.
“Can I get a picture with you,” a Chicago Blackhawks fan named John Howard asked Hickey before the game.
Naturally, Hickey obliged. He always does.
Contact LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com