Golden Knights of­fi­cially hit Sin City

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS -

LAS VE­GAS >> The NHL’s new­est team is named the Ve­gas Golden Knights.

Owner Bill Fo­ley and NHL Com­mis­sioner Gary Bettman an­nounced the Las Ve­gas ex­pan­sion fran­chise’s of­fi­cial name and re­vealed its logo and col­ors Tues­day night at a gala cer­e­mony for about 5,000 fans out­side T-Mo­bile Arena, where the Golden Knights will be­gin play next sea­son.

The Golden Knights’ logo is a sim­ple front view of a fight­ing hel­met with a con­spic­u­ous “V” in the mid­dle. Their col­ors are steel grey, gold, red and black.

“Our logo and our name is re­ally go­ing to ex­hibit the high­est el­e­ment of the war­rior class — the knight,” Fo­ley told the crowd. “The knight pro­tects the un­pro­tected. The knight de­fends the realm. The knight never gives up, never gives in, al­ways ad­vances, never re­treats. And that is what our team is go­ing to be.”

The NHL awarded its 31st fran­chise in June to this gam­bling mecca in the Mo­jave Desert. Fo­ley is a bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man who sold the league on the po­ten­tial of be­ing the first ma­jor pro sports fran­chise in the grow­ing mar­ket while play­ing in a new $375 mil­lion arena al­ready con­structed on the south end of the Strip.

The fran­chise made its name an­nounce­ment near an out­door rink where young hockey play­ers braved the 58-de­gree night­time tem­per­a­tures in Ve­gas’ desert basin. The cer­e­mony en­dured tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties when a video pre­sen­ta­tion re­fused to run, prompt­ing Fo­ley and Bettman to kill time.

Bettman grin­ningly en­cour­aged the fans to boo him, say­ing it’s a true in­di­ca­tion that Las Ve­gas is a real NHL city.

“Be­lieve me, we won’t screw up the first game like we screwed up the video,” Fo­ley said with a laugh.

Fo­ley paid $500 mil­lion as an ex­pan­sion fee to the other 30 own­er­ship groups, and the West Point grad­u­ate strongly con­sid­ered nam­ing his team the Black Knights in honor of his Army roots.

He changed his mind dur­ing the lengthy process of de­vel­op­ing a brand and an iden­tity for his team, but Fo­ley kept a mil­i­tary touch in the name de­spite some lo­cal crit­i­cism for its lack of a con­nec­tion to Las Ve­gas. Fo­ley has said the team didn’t want to in­clude an overt gam­bling ref­er­ence in the name, but also con­sid­ered Desert Knights and Sil­ver Knights.

Fans chanted Fo­ley’s name when he stepped to the podium to make the an­nounce­ment.

“I’m very proud of our name, and I’m very proud of our logo,” Fo­ley said.

The team has been en­thu­si­as­ti­cally re­ceived in south­ern Ne­vada, which is get­ting the first ma­jor pro­fes­sional sports fran­chise in a mar­ket of nearly 1.4 mil­lion. Fo­ley led a suc­cess­ful drive that landed sev­eral thou­sand de­posits on sea­son tick­ets months be­fore the NHL of­fi­cially granted a team to the city.

The Golden Knights im­me­di­ately be­gan sell­ing team mer­chan­dise at the an­nounce­ment.

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