By ALAN SNEL
Nearly seven months ago at the same exact location at the Fremont Street Experience, the Vegas Golden Knights held court on the 3rd Street Stage and announced that The D hotel-casino would be a downtown corporate partner.
On that June 13, 2017 day, a couple hundred Golden Knights fans showed up.
My, how things can change in a mere seven months.
At the same exact location this afternoon at the Fremont Street Experience 3rd Street Stage, 10,000 crazed Golden Knights assembled at 3 p.m. for a FanFest event that was postponed back in October because of the tragic Oct. 1 outdoor concert shooting massacre on the Strip.
Even a 3-2 overtime loss Saturday night to the Edmonton Oilers did nothing to dampen the love affair between home town and the improbable first-place rookie hockey team Sunday afternoon.
It was a pep rally atmosphere at the downtown Las Vegas Fremont Street Experience as Golden Knights owner Bill Foley led the crowd in a “Go Knights Go” chant and Golden Knights TV broadcasters Dave Goucher and Shane Hnidy introduced the players. The red carpet event was sponsored by The D hotel-casino, the team’s official downtown hotel.
Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak, who is running for governor, said he showed up strictly as a fan.
“I expected them to bond with the community, but nothing like this,” Sisolak told LVSportsBiz.com.
Sisolak recalled telling NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman that Las Vegas would buy those season ticket deposits show the NHL that the Las Vegas market would support a local major league hockey franchise.
“I told Gary Bettman that we’ll sell those tickets,” Sisolak. “Bill (Foley) has done everything we have asked him.”
And the Golden Knights fans have showed up everywhere — at games, at practices and at Sunday’s FanFest.
On Jan. 7, the Golden Knights set an attendance record at T-Mobile Arena with 18.234 fans when the Rangers came to the Strip and the VGK promptly broke that mark Saturday night when 18,351 tickets were sold and distributed for the Golden Knights-Oilers game.
The Golden Knights are filling up T-Mobile Arena at 103 percent of capacity after 22 home games — the fourth highest capacity percentage in the NHL.
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