Monday, January 1, 2018

GOING TO OUR FIRST VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS GAME

By Lee Samuels

Las Vegas – On New Year’s Eve our grandson Jimmy Samuels, the GM of the Kansas University ACHA D3 team, was home for the holidays.

He also had two tickets for the big New Year’s Eve game – the Vegas Golden Knights vs the Toronto Maple Leafs at the T-Mobile Arena here in Las Vegas.

It was a 12:30 pm start. But we didn’t drive there.

“We have to take the team bus,” he said. “You cannot expect to park a car at the arena on a day like this.”

So we went to a nearby bus depot early in the morning and there were nice bus folks who loaded us up.

The cost was $2.00.

We got the last two seats.

There were a few folks wearing ice blue Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys.

We asked “which team has had the most fans wearing out of town jerseys.”

“Pittsburgh Penguins, seemed like thousands of them went to our Golden Knights game,” someone said to the left.

“And the Chicago Blackhawks,” said another one on the bus. ‘Hundreds and hundreds of them.”

At last we got to the T-Mobile area.

The bus driver reminded us “return right here when the game is over. You are on the Centennial bus #607.”

We all said yes we would be on time.

We walked towards the T-Mobile. Outside on a concourse were about a hundred Maple Leafs fans. There were singing and dancing in a large circle – not kidding. Fans of all ages including some Maple Leaf little ones in in their blue jerseys. Some were in strollers shaking their bottles and trying to sing. 

We got through security easily and moved towards section 211. While on the escalator the chanting started.

“Go Knights Go!”

We got popcorn and snacks and then watched warmups.

We were reminded on the scoreboard that we – the fans – would be helping to “Defend Our Fortress.”  

There were a sea of blue jerseys at the glass when the Maple Leafs warmed up. There was excitement – not kidding – in the air.

The game got underway, everyone was chanting, the scoreboard was on fire with Defend the Fortess and whenever it flashed Go Knights Go there were thousands of fans chanting like real loud.

The Vegas Golden Knights with their spread offense and precise drop passing got off to a three goal lead. They have to be the best-coached team in the NHL. 

Near the end of the game with a two goal lead the scoreboard flashed with an image of a knight who lifted his helmet and shouted “we are in our final moments of Glory.

“Do you want to win?

“How much do you want to win?

“Get Loud

“Louder!

Vegas Loud!”

The place was on fire.

The Maple Leafs had no chance to win this one.

Vegas won 6-3. 

We went down the escalator and the ‘Go Knights Go’ chant started again.

We looked to our left there were over a hundred people lined up at the shop to buy Vegas Golden Knights gear.

We got outside, there was a big buzz in the air, and we headed for Bus #607.

Just as we got there our bus pulled away.

But this amazing bus attendant turned and said ‘don’t worry, I will have a bus for you in a few moments.”

Just then bus #107 pulled up.

We got on.

And just then, as we sat down, it started again.

“Go Knights Go” the fans chanted on the bus.