Vegas Golden Knights breaking records in their first NHL Season
When Billy Foley led a consortium that intended to launch an NHL franchise in the city of Las Vegas, it got plenty of people excited. Vegas has no professional sports team in any of North America’s big four sports leagues and the city was hungry to get one.
It cost Foley and his consortium $500 million to bring the expansion team to Vegas but the interest was clearly there as shown by over 13,000 season ticket deposits that Foley had received. It was announced in June 2016 the expansion bid was unanimously agreed at a league owner’s meeting and the Las Vegas franchise would start the 2017-18 season in the city’s new T-Mobile Arena. The name of the new team was announced in November 2016 as the Vegas Golden Knights to the general approval of the public as excitement about the new team built momentum.
The expansion draft was much talked about throughout the 2016-17 season. The draft would allow the new franchise to select one player from each existing NHL franchise in order to build a roster of players ready for the new season. In turn, each NHL franchise was allowed to submit a list of protected players that were off limits to be picked.
The expansion draft took place on June 21st, 2017, and the team announced that they would be coached by Gerard Gallant. The draft itself was seen by the NHL experts as moderately successful with Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury becoming the jewel of the players picked up by the new team.
Traditionally, expansion teams do not do well in their first years in the NHL so it came as a huge surprise to everyone when the Golden Knights began with a win in Dallas and have since gone from strength to strength. Their achievements have been noted worldwide, even as far afield as Australia where fans of the NHL might be tempted to use their $200 opening deposit bonus at Bet365 by betting on the Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup this season, at odds of 17/2.
No one would have dared think that this team could win a cup in their first ever season but, with a group of players that no one fancied, the Golden Knights have had a record-breaking season. They became the first team in its inaugural season to win eight of its first nine games. They have become the first expansion franchise to win six games in a row, which they achieved in December 2017, and then they broke another record by becoming the first expansion team to win 34 games in their first season. More amazingly, they managed to hit this figure after just 50 games and look likely to smash the record, set by Florida and Anaheim back in 1993-94, even further with over 30 games left to play.
Whatever happens over the next few years, no one will forget the effort and achievements of the Vegas Golden Knights in their opening season. Fans in Vegas have fallen in love with their new team and will be hoping that their first honours won’t be far behind as they cheer on their record-breaking heroes.