By ALAN SNEL
Welcome to Hockey Town USA — or the Las Vegas Strip where the Golden Knights’ arena is filling up with red jerseys donned by hundreds of Chicago Blackhawks fans. Golden Knights President Kerry Bubolz, who typically wears the steel gray and gold jersey of the Golden Knights over his dress shirt but not tonight, knows it will take time to convert local Blackhawks fans to Golden Knights diehards. But he’s patient and willing to wait for Blackhawks fans in Las Vegas to eventually cheer when the Golden Knights score.
LVSportsBiz.com caught up with Bubolz on the T-Mobile Arena main concourse shortly after the doors opened at 5:30 p.m. It was not so much of an interview but more of a chat with Bubolz, the easy-going Oklahoman who came to the Golden Knights after serving as the Cleveland Cavaliers’ top business executive. Let’s go 10 rounds with Bubolz tonight.
LVSB: How’s attendance tonight?
Bubolz: It will be a sellout. Fixed seating is 17,367.
LVSB: How’s the in-game entertainment going?
Bubolz: It’s just like the players on the ice. The timing is important to a great show.
LVSB: What new entertainment features do you have up your sleeve?
Bubolz: We have an indoor blimp with a camera for Friday afternoon’s game. It’s a custom blimp in Golden Knights colors. It will be a large, slow-moving drone.
LVSB: What else do you have cooking?
Bubolz: When the team comes back from a road trip for the Nov. 10 home game we will unveil a new goal horn that will have 140 decibels. It will be an aircraft carrier horn that will be installed in the catwalks. One hundred and forty decibels will wake people up. Right now we use a sound effect horn. People told us it did not have enough energy. It cost in the high five figures. It will have a deep bass. It’s a deep-sounding horn.
LVSB: How’s the drum line working out?
Bubolz: Great. It’s one of my favorites.
LVSB: What’s up with this Wolverine-looking fan with the big sideburns that the camera catches for shots of him on the Jumbotron? Is he a team plant?
Bubolz: He’s not a plant. He’s a fan. It’s part of the organic fun at the game.
LVSB: There’s a “superfan” who dresses like a real knight. Does he ever get confused with your team knight character?
Bubolz: He’s the best. If we had 1,000 of them at games, it would be even more awesome. He added something tonight to his costume.
LVSB: How are you dealing with games where there are so many opposition fans like tonight with the Blackhawks? Have you had any fight incidents with Golden Knights and opposing fans in the stands?
Bubolz: There have been no fan incidents. I have had a number of emails from people who said, “I wore my hometown team jersey but I cheered when the Golden Knights scored. It’s part of the conversion process that will take place over time.
LVSB: What observations do you have about opposing team fans?
Bubolz: They’re on lines buying Golden Knights merchandise. We’re creating commerce and taking their two points, too.
LVSB: What special features do you have for Friday’s Nevada Day matinee?
Bubolz: The team will be wearing the white road jersey. We’ll have the blimp. And we’ll be creating a celebration with the Nevada state song.
Contact LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com