Friday, October 7, 2016

By Bob Wright

Las Vegas – It’s not just a game, it’s hockey history. The UNLV Rebels will play in the first game ever featuring a hometown team at the MGM T-Mobile Arena this Sunday at noon. There will be a sheet of new ice, the scoreclock will be lit, ASU Maroon and UNLV will play in the biggest, most spectacular ice hockey arena in town, home of the new NHL Las Vegas team.

So how was all of this arranged and put together

Zee Khan, General Manager of UNLV, said “we were introduced to the team at the MGM T-Mobile Arena by a local referee Ernie Zita who does all of the digital needs for for MGM Resorts. He set up a meeting with leadership at the MGM and that is where the idea to play at the T-Mobile Arena was first discussed.

“Once we established that it would be a feasible option to play there we began a planning process through our schedule figuring who would be good opposing team to play for this weekend. The idea is to truly bring more exposure what we now believe is a showcase product not only for Las Vegas and UNLV but the ACHA as well. Our on ice product has now become a model for how other teams match up.

“As players and staff we cannot be more excited to be the first Las Vegas team – first UNLV team – to play at the world’s newest and most modern arena. This is something we will always remember.”

Zee add “this is an example that we as a staff – Arturo Castro, Anthony Greener, Nick Robone and myself to show how much our program has grown and also why we are now able to recruit such high end talent.

“The rink dimensions should not be too much different than either the Las Vegas Ice Center or the SoBe Ice Arena. But it will have a larger feel due to the sheer size of the T-Mobile Arena. It’s exciting to be able to say we were the first hometown team, even before the new NHL team, to play there. We are expecting a great turnout too.”

UNLV head coach Anthony Greener said “…everyone is excited. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to play in a game like this. We will have to be ready to go too, playing a team like ASU Maroon.”

From the Blue Line – Former UNLV defenseman Richie Crossley, who now works at the SoBe Ice Arena in Las Vegas, will be driving one of the Zambonis on Sunday at the T-Mobile Arena. Richie said he has already had a test ride there on the ice…