Courtesy: YouTube - Sam Joseph

Henderson Silver Knights: Hockey Skates to Henderson



10, 9, 8, 7…Just like the Vegas Golden Knights have a countdown to Knight Time, the American Hockey League franchise, Chicago Wolves, has a countdown to their pre-game production.


The most significant notable difference between the two countdowns is that you primarily hear kids counting along in Chicago. Once the clock hits zero, watch out! The Chicago Wolves put on a pre-game firework show that rivals many city’s Fourth of July celebrations.  Fireworks explode from the bottom of the scoreboard coordinated with the “Oh’s” and “Yeah’s” of “Kickstart my Heart” by Motley Crew.  Exactly twenty-eight explosions over approximately ninety seconds.  With each bang, you hear more and more kids cheering.

Henderson Silver Knights

Fireworks shoot out in a circular motion from the scoreboard with flames igniting twenty feet in the air from the west end of the ice. You can feel the heat while sitting in the top row of the upper deck on the east side of the arena.  The Chicago Wolves mascot, “Skates,” is introduced and skates full speed to center-ice.  After performing a perfect hockey stop, Skates faces the player’s benches and begins a howl as he circles towards the penalty boxes.

Sparks fly out of his paws fifteen feet in the air as two more exploding fireworks go off from beneath the scoreboard.  The Wolves starting lineup is announced, and one by one, each player skates on to the ice from the west end of the rink as flames shoot into the air. Kids scream and cheer for each player as they are announced.


Vegas…Pardon me.  Henderson now has an AHL Hockey Team called the Silver Knights.


The Silver Knights will begin their existence in The Orleans Arena for the 2020/21 campaign and move into the new Henderson Events Center upon completion in 2021.

Henderson Silver Knights
Photo Credit: Knights On Ice

The American Hockey League (AHL) experience is far different than the National Hockey League (NHL) experience.  Intermissions may feature t-shirt tosses and other activities that kids will enjoy.  A long-running tradition during a Chicago Wolves game is fans performing the “Cotton Eye Joe” line dance when the song plays during the third period.  The camera starts between sections 110 and 111 of the Allstate Arena. Within moments most of the arena is dancing along, hoping to see themselves on the scoreboard.

What will be the key differences for the gameday productions of the Vegas Golden Knights and Henderson Silver Knights?  Will Lee Orchard (Golden Knight for VGK games) pull double duty and shoot fireworks from his sword during the pre-game show?  After every goal, will there be fireworks?  It is a safe bet that the Silver Knights production team will focus more on their activations towards children.  That’s not to say that adults won’t have a great time at the Henderson Events Center.  Just expect to see in-game entertainment that will leave the kids begging their parents to bring them back to another game.


“Goonies.”  Great movie. Follow me for a moment.


Everyone knows the famous phrase, “Hey, you guuyyssss!”  Now try this.  “Hen-der-sonnnnn!”  Try that again; make sure the “son” has two syllables.  “Hen-der-soo-oon!”  I think it would be cool to hear VGK PA announcer, Bruce Cusick, call the Henderson Silver Knights to the ice like that.  Just replace “Veeggassss” with “Hen…”  I am sure you get the idea.

Henderson Silver Knights
Photo Credit: Brandon Andreasen

Part of the fun of watching a new professional sports franchise from day one is seeing how production takes shape and how it evolves throughout the season. If I were the betting type (I am the betting type), I would set the over/under (for entertainment purposes only) at 1.5 for the number of different regular season pre-game introductions there will be.  It will be a lot of fun to see what other fan traditions are born in the Henderson Events Center.

Attending a Vegas Golden Knights’ game is an experience from the moment you turn west on Park Avenue.  Sweaters from the home and away team is all you see going in and out of the restaurants leading up to Toshiba Plaza.  Once in the plaza, you can check out the rally on the stage just outside the arena.  After that, you are treated to an epic pre-game show.  Make no mistake; when you leave T-Mobile Arena, you will be talking about the game you just saw.  That is what your primary memory will be.

While the action at an AHL game is outstanding, the game you saw might not be primarily in your memory bank after the game.  Instead, it may be something from the pre-game show, a funny moment on the scoreboard, maybe the mascot pranked someone in the visiting team’s sweater, or maybe there’s a new fan tradition that takes place that will stick out to you.  The production surrounding an AHL game certainly will not be a distraction to the action on the ice. However, it may extrude a bit more than what you usually see at an NHL game.

VGK and HSK owner Bill Foley has been a busy man.  June 22nd, 2016 is when VGK became an official NHL franchise.  It took approximately four years for the Henderson Silver Knights to become an official AHL franchise.


I will set the over / under on July 1st, 2023 for Foley to complete the Trilogy by announcing the Bronze Knights as a new ECHL Franchise that will play its home games out of Reno, Nevada.

Henderson Silver Knights     Henderson Silver Knights     Henderson Silver Knights     Henderson Silver Knights     Henderson Silver Knights     Henderson Silver Knights     Henderson Silver Knights     Henderson Silver Knights     Henderson Silver Knights  

-Chris G – Franchise Sports Media


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