LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Vegas Golden Knights have certainly opened the hearts of Southern Nevada. Men, women... young and old... hockey is not only uniting the community, it's also crossing ethnic lines.
There's a man that is bringing the excitement of the Golden Knights to the Hispanic community. His name is Jesus Lopez.
Lopez is the the play-by-play announcer on ESPN Deportes. Along with color commentator Herbert Castro, they provide NHL hockey coverage for the Hispanic community.
Lopez studied at the University of Guadalajara. He moved his family to the United States for personal reasons and has worked in radio and TV. He has a show weeknights on 1460 AM called Cantina ESPN - and when the opportunity came up to do play-by-play for the Knights, he jumped at the chance. He went right to his boss at Lotus Broadcasting.
Lopez says, "I told him no let me do a promo and I show you what I can do, and then he suggested me, you know what? It sounds like a bit of translation, why don't you do a bit of your soccer stuff? And I start calling the goals, like soccer style and people loved it, and I believe we created a good impact among our society."
Lopez admits it was stressful at first, learning and getting a custom to calling the games, it was a challenge. But now that's he comfortable, he's having fun!!
He says, "now I can put more speed into it, I can become more creative, and you have better timing between play and play." Lopez says the rules of hockey are very similar to soccer… a sport the Latino community knows very well. The Golden Knights quickly became their new passion.
"It has a lot of ingredients that we love... there's fights, there's speed, and I don't mean that we love to fight but you know but it makes this sport so unique." And, not only has the Hispanic community embraced Lopez, he says, "but also has a lot of English speaking people that says... I wish I knew Spanish so I could understand what you are saying because I love the way you do it!" He says that motivates him to be better.
"If you are going to be good doing something you have to feel it, when Jed opens the mic I forget who I am and I just become the voice of the Knights."
Lopez is very hopeful next season they will be able to go on the road and do away games too.