By ALAN SNEL
Tonight, it was red. Thousands and thousands of fans in red Blackhawks jerseys sitting around T-Mobile Arena.
On Sunday, it was the orange-clad Flyers fans.
We’ve seen it through the Vegas Golden Knights’ inaugural season — sellout crowds with plenty of fans rooting for the visiting team.
But it doesn’t seem to matter to the home team.
The Golden Knights win no matter the allegiance of the fan.
The rookie Las Vegas club has a sterling 20-4-2 record in T-Mobile Arena despite competing cheers.
Golden Knights center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare explained why cheers for the visiting team don’t bother him. Bellamare said he played in Europe where both teams have fans in the stands and he’s used to cheers for his team and for his foe.
Even with half of the standing room only crowd of 18,085 (seating capacity is 17,367) wearing Blackhawks colors Tuesday night, Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said the roar of the VGK crowd when defenseman Brad Hunt scored the tying goal in the third period propelled his club to the 5-2 victory, including four straight goals in the decisive final period.
“The team feeds off the crowd,” Gallant told the media after the game.
The Golden Knights do not take any action to determine who gets first crack at buying a home ticket during the regular season. There are 14,000 season ticket equivalents, and a chunk of those VGK fans sell their tickets to secondary market operators, who, in turn, sell the tickets to fans of the opposing team.
Before Tuesday night’s game, LVSportsBiz.com spoke with a Blackhawks family of four that spent $900 on four upper bowl tickets. The average Golden Knights ticket is $88 — one of the higher per ticket cost in the NHL.
But will Golden Knights management give Golden Knights fans in the team’s market first crack at buying playoff tickets? (The Nashville Predators do that, for example, for postseason games.)
That could be a way to try and get as many Golden Knights fans into the arena for the postseason games.
But so far, even if the crowd’s fans in T-Mobile Arena are wearing the visiting team’s colors, the Golden Knights have been winning.
And owner Bill Foley is happy to accept the visiting team’s fans’ money — along with those two points in the standings.
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