The Big News This Week
Never diminish the effect of sports in your life. The NHL held a press conference at Encore on Wednesday at 1 p.m. local time. The annual press conference is normally something reserved for diehard hockey fans. This year was different. Very different.
The NHL announced that the league has granted an expansion franchise to Las Vegas. The 31st team in the league will start to play in the 2017-18 season. Expansion of the 4th most popular sport in America might normally be saved for sports news outlets. However, there’s something special about the NHL being the first professional franchise to announce a team in Las Vegas.
It’s not a surprise that local media was all about this announcement. As soon as the long-rumored announcement was made athletes, celebrities and mainstream news outlets had something to say about the expansion. This Vegas-Centric blogger and non-hockey fan even got excited for a few minutes. This topic deserves a little more attention than just any news item.
Here’s some basic information about the unnamed Las Vegas NHL team.
- The unnamed Las Vegas NHL team will not have a name until around September. The Black Knights was the first rumored name but I don’t think the word “black” will be a part of the name when it’s revealed. For the sake of continuity I’ll just refer to the hockey team as “Las Vegas NHL team.”
- The Las Vegas NHL team will play its home games at the T-Mobile Arena. This is the arena behind New York-New York and across from Monte Carlo (soon to become Park MGM).
- The Las Vegas NHL team won’t begin play until the 2017-2018 NHL season.
- The NHL will hold an expansion draft in June 2017 for theLas Vegas NHL team to fill its roster. The team must submit their Expansion Draft Selections on June 20 and the NHL will announce their selections on June 21. The Expansion Draft will not be televised (as of now).
- The Las Vegas NHL team will use the 2017 NHL Entry Draft to help fill out their team. They will be given the same odds in the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery as the team finishing with the third-fewest points during the 2016-17 regular season. The rules state that the worst pick they’ll have in the first round of the draft is number 6.
- You can already wager on the Las Vegas NHL team. The Westgate and Station Casinos released a few different options the day of the announcement.
There’s a lot of work to be done by the Las Vegas NHL team before they can take the ice. Expect more news to trickle out sporadically for the next couple of years. While Las Vegas seems to be excited to have a major league team, I think the NHL fans around the country might be as excited. There are plenty of people waiting on the NHL schedule for the 2017-2018 season to be announced. It’s already time to plan a vacation when their favorite team comes to Las Vegas for the first time.
TV and Movie Activities In Las Vegas
A few weeks ago I learned that Who Wants To Be A Millionaire was still on TV. They’ll be recording the 2016-2017 season of the show at Bally’s in July. Not only can you watch the show in person when visiting Las Vegas but you can audition to be on the show. Auditions will take place at Bally’s from 2PM to 7PM on the following dates:
- July 7-9
- July 11-15
- July 18-22
- July 25-29
You can find more information on the show and what it takes to become a contestant at MillionaireTV.com.
Once contestants are selected, the show will record at Bally’s from July 15 – September 1. You must be at least 18 years old if you’d like to be in the studio audience. Proof of age is required, so don’t forget ID. Tickets are free and can be requested from the show’s website at MillionaireTV.com.
The Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. attraction at Treasure Island just opened. The new Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. attraction includes an interactive journey through the Marvel Universe. During the attraction, you’ll be able to interact with the Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and other Avengers characters. The Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. attraction is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (last entry is at 9 p.m.), 7 days a week. Entry is $34 for adults and $24 for children ages 4-11 (children 3 and under are free). This attraction seems pretty rad if you’re a Marvel Comics fan.
Keeping An Eye On New Casinos
The Plaza just completed a renovation of the pool deck. A new pool experience should be a welcome sight for those looking to stay in downtown Las Vegas. The area has been without more than one good pool options for years. The new pool at the Plaza and Citrus at Downtown Grand give a couple choices besides the Golden Nugget pool.
The initial concept of Wynn Paradise Park may have seemed a little out there at first. While the board of Wynn Resorts still has to approve a plan, Steve Wynn keeps floating even stranger ideas. He recently mentioned that zip line rides will be a part of Wynn Paradise Park. Now he’s saying that there will be an eight-story-tall King Kong will play a part in the new addition to Wynn Las Vegas. The giant King Kong will make an appearance every day before the water shows at the island. This makes the trippy Lake of Dreams shows seem tame. This is probably as realistic as me hitting a million dollar jackpot on a Wheel of Fortune slot machine. Both might happen but probably won’t.
Construction on the Lucky Dragon continues as they’re getting ready to open later this year. The boutique hotel and casino just launched a website and will be hiring 800 employees. You can track the progress of construction, read news about the opening date and submit a job application on the new website. You can read more about Lucky Dragon in this post.
I forgot to share this bit of news on Red Rock Resorts/Station Casinos last week. When Red Rock Resorts purchased Palms I speculated that expanding their Wild Wild West property might be a good idea. The Stiffs and Georges leads me to believe that Red Rock Resorts might agree. The blog says “Station has not given up on turning the Wild Wild West lemon into lemonade. In conversations with Greff, Station “management envisions partnering with a developer to build a high-rise residential or retail project, allowing [Red Rock Resorts] to retain the gaming rights.””
Dave McKee also says that Reno and Southwest Las Vegas are priority markets for Red Rock Resorts. A new casino at Durango and the 215 isn’t very exciting. The potential of another Station Casino near the Vegas Strip is certainly something to look forward to.
Late Breaking News…
I received a heads up that Wahlburgers at the Bally’s Grand Bazaar Shops will be opening by the time you read this. Don’t expect to see Mark or Donnie Wahlberg or any TV cameras for the show during this soft opening.