Saturday, November 26, 2016

Golden Knights

I've always been fascinated with expansion teams in professional sports. In fact, I wrote a very, very long post about NFL expansion a few years ago. I'm not sure why; I think it's a weird combination of reading the priorities of a community, figuring out what cities have grown and developed enough to support a team, plus the inevitable shakeup of most pro sports structures. Given people's incredibly disproportionate passion regarding sports, I think I just like the idea of rattling the cage a bit. Especially now that most sports appear to have maxed out at around 30 or 32 teams, any new franchise is going to be a big deal.

So I was a little shocked when I found out that Las Vegas-Vegas!--was getting a hockey team. I didn't even know the NHL was interested in expanding, especially since their last few expansions have not done as well (I'm looking at you, Phoenix Coyotes.) A bit confusing, since this makes a weirdly uneven 31 teams, which implies that they'll be adding another team in short order.

Of course, Vegas has been off the table for a while--if there's one thing that pro sports wants to avoid, it's any sort of connection to gambling at all, even if tangentially. So it's a bit of a surprise that the NHL caved and went for Vegas--which, gambling aside, is a smart move. It's a growing city with a huge amount of untapped potential, and since they're the first, could be quite successful.

Then again, there's the name--the Golden Knights? Adjectives don't seem to stick around very long in pro sports (Remember the Mighty Duck? How about the Golden Seals?) and Knights just a weird choice for Vegas. Then again, Vegas is known for having a distinct lack of culture (largely simply being a collection of people from other places) and the culture they do have is stuff they actively want to avoid.

It should be interesting, to say the least. Here's hoping they make it to 40 teams.

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