theScore's NHL expansion concept: Introducing the Las Vegas Black Knights
Wondering what NHL expansion will look like? Yeah, us too. In fact, it has our wheels spinning pretty good.
Welcome to theScore's NHL expansion concept, where we make the league's flirtation with the process a reality. This comes with a disclaimer: this is STRICTLY fantasy and simulation. Expansion is very much in its infancy. Thus, the method to which we determine the rules, cities, teams, and names involved is 100 percent improvisational and speculative.
All that said, it's fun to look ahead, to imagine what may be possible, and to crystal ball 2017-18. So with that:
Let's introduce you to Bill Foley, Wayne Gretzky, John Tortorella, and the Las Vegas Black Knights:
Owner: Foley/Maloof Sports & Entertainment, LLC, Bill Foley
Foley is the chairman of the board for Fidelity National Financial, Black Knight Financial Services, and ServiceLink, and the vice chairman of FIS. He is the founder of Foley Family Wines and the Foley Food & Wine Society as well as the chairman of Glacier Restaurant Group, LLC.
The Maloof Family have resided in Las Vegas for nearly 30 years. The family has 17 years of experience in sports management, owning the NBA's Sacramento Kings from 1998-2013 before selling the team for $534 million. The family also owned the Houston Rockets from 1979-1982.
Arena: MGM-AEG Arena
The home of the Black Knights is Las Vegas' newest arena complex, the MGM-AEG Arena. The $375-million facility will be financed fully by AEG, MGM Resorts International, and interested partners. The state-of-the-art facility holds 17,500 and will change the way arenas are designed in the future.
The multipurpose facility, which broke ground May 1, 2014 and opened exactly two years later, will be home to the Black Knights as well as serve as a venue for concerts, boxing, mixed martial arts, awards shows, and more.
General Manager: Wayne Gretzky
We have always been intent on making a major splash, and introducing our GM is the manifestation of that.
Wayne Gretzky, a longtime friend and associate of ownership that helped bring the Black Knights to Las Vegas, makes the transition from advisor to general manager.
Gretzky served as the head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes from 2005-2007. He's played an important role with Hockey Canada in the past, serving as the executive director of the Canadian men's hockey team at the 2002 and 2006 Olympics, winning gold in 2002. He also served as a special advisor for the 2010 team that captured gold.
The "Great One" sits number one on the NHL's all-time scoring list, amassing 2,857 points (894 goals and 1,963 assists) in 1,487 games. The nine-time Hart Trophy winner holds 60 NHL scoring records.
Head coach: John Tortorella
"You can see the billboards now: 'Someone's gotta take the fun outta Vegas,' as Tortorella stands, arms crossed."
Still bringing the fire, John Tortorella returns to the NHL after last serving as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks in 2013-14. The Boston, Mass. native has 12 years experience as a head coach in the league, running the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers benches previously.
In a dozen seasons, Tortorella guided his team to the postseason eight times, winning the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004. He was awarded the Jack Adams Trophy as the league's top coach the same year after leading the team to a 46-22-8 record.
Tortorella served as an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres from 1989-1995 and the Coyotes from 1997-1999. He served as the head coach of the American Hockey League's Rochester Americans from 1995-1997, leading them to a Calder Trophy win in 1996.
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