Many sports fans were left a little puzzled by the NHL’s 2016 decision to award Las Vegas an expansion team.
Nonetheless, while it has managed to fly under-the-radar to many around North America, the fact is, Las Vegas has always been a bit of a hockey town. Several minor league teams have called the city home over the years and, as a former resident, I can also vouch that Vegas is home to a range of ice rinks, a good deal of recreational hockey and plenty of puck-loving residents.
The Vegas Golden Knights have now officially taken the ice and, in addition to helping the city come together after the recent tragedy, they have turned into one of the Strip’s hottest new attractions. Visiting fans from all over North America are already descending on the desert in droves.
Using your favorite NHL team's road trip to Vegas as an excuse for a trip? Here are some tips to help you have a good time.
Best Pre-Game Ritual: Plop Down a Prop
Proposition bets—which are wagers on random things happening in a game instead of a winner/loser—are always a fun way to diversify your sports gambling experience.
Typically, Las Vegas casinos will offer myriad of these "prop" bets on the Super Bowl and other very high profile games. So far though, they have been treating every Golden Knights game like a special event.
A recent game against the St. Louis Blues offered the opportunity to wager on a number of shots on goal, the likelihood of a fight happening and whether or not there would be a goal scored in the first ten minutes of play.
Chuck one down before you head to the game, and I guarantee the on-ice action is going to be even more exciting than it normally would.
Best Place to Party Before Puck Drop: The Park
Directly adjacent to the sparkling new T-Mobile Arena is The Park, a sprawling complex full of restaurants and bars.
Beerhaus is your best bet here, as it serves up craft beers and mouthwatering sandwiches like the Pit Roast Pork (sweet onions, arugula, sweet and spicy mustard on a soft bun).
If you can't make it to The Park pregame, then head to McMullan's. This Irish bar just off the Strip has always been home to hockey-loving customers, and the owner is offering customers free rides to-and-from the game in their new Golden Knights-mobile.
Best Place to Go for a Skate: Sobe Ice Arena
If you packed your skates and want to get out on the ice during your trip, then slide over to the Sobe Ice Arena. Located inside the Fiesta Rancho casino—an approximately 10-minute drive from downtown Vegas—their rink is a great spot for open sessions.
If you happen to be visiting during the Holiday Season, head to the Cosmopolitan’s ice rink, as this seasonal sheet offers views of the Strip and even artificial snow showers.
Best Place to Watch a Game With Locals: Brooksy's
In all likelihood, you are going to be in Las Vegas for a few days before or after you see your favorite team take on the Golden Knights. This gives you plenty of time to take some side trips.
So head out to Brooksy's Bar & Grill—bar none Las Vegas' best hockey bar.
Brooksy's is located inside an ice rink in the western suburbs of town and has been broadcasting every NHL game on their big screens for years. They pair the pucks with cold beer and homemade pizza at very budget-friendly prices.