LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Just as soon as the sun sets in Henderson, it’s Knight time.
Twenty-some players are in position across a tennis court, awaiting the puck (or ball) drop.
For the last year, a group of Vegas Golden Knights fans has been meeting once a week to play a casual but competitive game of street hockey.
“None of us are ever going to be in the NHL or anything of that nature or even be minor leaguers but we really enjoy the game," said Ed, one of the group's go-to goalies.
In this group, enjoying the game is reason enough to get in it.
“We never push someone away because they suck or we don’t push them away because they’re too good. We just want people that are humble and that are willing to be a community and help each other," Jesus Reyes, who started the group.
And this growing community of amateur athletes talking smack and taking shots on goal is exactly what Reyes had in mind when he put a call out on social media last year.
“After watching that first season, it was like, alright, so many people are into it. Like, I’m sure we can get people that have maybe never played it," said Reyes.
Watching the Golden Knights on TV was one thing. Getting in the game himself was another. So he bought a bunch of nets and sticks and cast a wide net online. People responded.
“If you need a goaltender, I’ve done it before. I can come on out and go along with it," said Ed.
At 54, Ed is one of the older players in a group that also includes teenagers. But diversity in age, race and skill is the point. This hockey community is accessible to everyone - the street being the great equalizer.
“If you do it on skates, you have to rent a skating rink. And if we do it on skates, not everyone knows how to skate. Everyone knows how to use their feet and their hands to use a stick so it’s for anybody," said Reyes.
And although this group was inspired by the Golden Knights, being a VGK fan isn’t an absolute requirement for joining.
“I mean we have a Sharks fan here. We’ll just say I ended up muting him in the group chat and at some point he got harassed by everyone and then he left. But he’s still here," said Reyes, with a laugh.
If you're interested in joining the group, reach out on Facebook. Search "VGK Street Hockey Group."