LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — During the Vegas Golden Knights' first four seasons "The Fortress" has established itself as one of the hardest places for opponents to play in the NHL, and that's not by accident.
Already this preseason, we've seen T-Mobile Arena at or near capacity for every game. Compared to other arenas around the league, that is not normal.
13 Action News looked into what it takes to create the home-ice advantage inside T-Mobile Arena and caught up with the man who works behind the scenes to keep the crowd of medieval maniacs going crazy at every home game.
Everything you see and hear inside T-Mobile Arena during a game comes from a video control room. More specifically, those decisions are made by one man, Tyler Cofer.
"Our goal is to create the biggest party on the strip every night that we have a game," said Golden Knights' Vice President of Entertainment Experience & Production Tyler Cofer.
Cofer creates an environment in the arena that's uniquely Vegas. From bright lights and loud music to memorable movie scenes and fan festivities, it's Cofer's job to pump up the crowd, and keep them engaged and entertained throughout the game.
"Our goal is to create an atmosphere that the players enjoy to play in and can put their best game forward, and then the fans can have a good time as well," said Cofer.
Whenever you see something other than the game on Knight Tron, the jumbotron inside T-Mobile Arena, it's Cofer calling the shots. But he credits his entire team for constantly coming up with creative content.
"Ideas live around us every day. You could be driving in the car and hear a song come on, and, 'How does that play into a crowd pump-up video or highlight piece?' Or you could be at home watching a movie and you see this movie clip, you're like, 'Oh, that could translate really well to a crowd pump-up or make noise,'" said Cofer.
It all contributes to The Fortress' atmosphere and environment, which Cofer strives to make as uncomfortable as possible for opponents.
"We definitely think that we make an impact on the game with the atmosphere that we create. We want that home-ice advantage and we want to make it really hard for that other team when they come in to be able to concentrate and execute their game plan. They're like, 'Where am I?' Like, 'We're not playing in another city.' It's like, 'Vegas is different.,'" said Cofer.
VGK players say the atmosphere in the arena definitely makes a difference on the ice.
"Every single home game, it's completely sold out. The crowd is rowdy, it's loud, it's full of passion and energy. And it's definitely like that sixth man on the ice for us. It's such a great atmosphere, but it's a tough place to win. And that's what I've heard from a lot of different people around the league," said Reilly Smith, a forward for the Golden Knights.
"I can't wait to have T-Mobile full. We have the best fan base in all of sports. We fill our building every night and we have a playoff atmosphere every single night, so that's all you can really ask," added Mark Stone, the Vegas Golden Knights' team captain.
There's no denying the home-ice advantage at T-Mobile Arena. Since the team arrived in Las Vegas in 2017, their win percentage at home is about 65%.