Thursday, September 18, 2017

By Lee Samuels

For years the UNLV Rebels have played in high octane thrilling home games in several different ice arenas here in town. But, at last, they now have an arena they can call home – the brand new City National Arena.

The UNLV hockey program was launched years at at the Santa Fe Stations Ice Arena on North Rancho Drive. When the arena was shut down, UNLV relocated down the street to the SoBe Ice Arena. For the last few seasons UNLV’s home arena was the Las Vegas Ice Center.

Now, the Rebels have their own arena at City National Arena which is the practice facility of the NHL Las Vegas Golden Knights.

And how important is this?

UNLV’s head coach Anthony Greener said today “…this is the place where the boys and I can call home. Really it’s a second home to most of us. We spend a lot of there where you can go onto the ice, leave you gear there. Eat lunch, hang out with the players to watch film or show up for practice. It’s nice to have your own arena.

Assistant coach Nick Robone of UNLV said “our staff has a big vision with lofty goals for our program. Having our own rink and locker room was a necessity to move that vision forward. Not only did it help recruiting, but the perception of our team has changed signficantly over the past three seasons. The facility plus our relationship with the Golden Knights has really put us in the right direction to consistently field a championship caliber team.”

UNLV GM Zee Khan added “…Having a home like City National Arena, something we have been working together with the Vegas Golden Knights for two plus years, allows us to truly establish ourselves as one of the premier teams in the ACHA. Coming to the rink every day is easier. Being able to share a building with a NHL team and for our players to be able to see what work goes on being a professional – it helps their developmental process. It helps us in recruiting top tier players like the group we brought in for this season. It also makes it an essential stop for other universities for their schedule. Teams want to come to Las Vegas to play against UNLV.”