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The history of hockey in Las Vegas

Timeline of hockey in the past and present
Posted at 3:08 PM, Nov 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-22 10:09:20-05

Many people are excited about the National Hockey League finally coming to Las Vegas. Although it may be the first time that the NHL has had a team in the Silver State, hockey is not new to Las Vegas. In fact, it's been around off and on since 1968.  

Hockey in Las Vegas before NHL:

  • 1968: The Las Vegas Gamblers gets its start as a senior amateur team.
  • 1970: The Las Vegas Gamblers begin play in the Pacific Southwest Hockey League (semi-professional league). They play their last game in Las Vegas in 1971.
  • 1971: Las Vegas Outlaws begin play as an independent professional hockey team. Their first season was one of the best single-season records of any hockey team in Las Vegas history (29-8-4-0). Their last game is in 1973.
  • 1993: Las Vegas Aces begin play in Pacific Southwest Hockey League. They fold in 1995. They were also semi-pro.
  • 1993: The Las Vegas Thunder (professional team) begin play in the International Hockey League. Their home rink was the Thomas & Mack Center. They average more than 8,000 fans per game.
  • 1995: The Las Vegas Ice Dice play in North America League. They only lasted for one year.
  • 1999: The West Coast Hockey league expands to Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Junior Aces are introduced.
  • 1999: The Las Vegas Thunder fold. The team had no place to play after UNLV officials refused to negotiate with team owners regarding a new agreement to play at the Thomas & Mack Center.
  • 1997: The first Frozen Fury game is played at the MGM Grand. Becomes an annual tradition.
  • 2003: Las Vegas Wranglers founded as an expansion franchise following ECHL's takeover of the West Coast Hockey League.
  • 2009: First NHL Awards banquet held in Las Vegas.
  • 2010: Las Vegas Wranglers become ECHL affiliate for Coyotes.
  • 2013: Wranglers informed lease at Orleans Arena will not be renewed.
  • 2014: Wranglers discuss plans to play at The Plaza in Downtown Las Vegas. Initially, the plan was to play on roof of hotel-casino. Then, the potential arena was moved to ground level. Plans for play at The Plaza were canceled in May.
  • 2015: Las Vegas Wranglers officially fold in January 2015. The Wranglers have the highest winning percentage in ECHL history and held 6 ECHL records before it disbanded. They also made two appearances in the Kelly Cup Finals.

Timeline for NHL in Las Vegas:

  • March 1, 2013: MGM and AEG announce plans for an arena in Las Vegas
  • April 2013: Plans for arena are finalized
  • March 2014: Meeting with prospective ownership groups interested in putting hockey team in Las Vegas confirmed
  • May 1, 2014: MGM and AEG break ground on new arena.
  • August 2014: It is reported that a NHL team in Las Vegas is a "done deal."
  • Oct. 24, 2014: First mention of Bill Foley bringing hockey to Las Vegas
  • Nov. 12, 2014: Foley selected by NHL as potential owner for a Las Vegas team
  • Dec. 8, 2014: Foley begins exploring coming to Las Vegas
  • Dec. 15, 2014: Foley confirms he's been given permission to launch a seasonal ticket drive
  • Feb. 10, 2015: Ticket drive is launched with goal of 10,000 seasonal tickets sold
  • Feb. 12, 2015: 50 percent of season tickets sold in two days
  • March 15, 2015: 9,000 seasonal tickets sold
  • March 23, 2015: Seasonal ticket goal of 10,000 is met
  • June 20, 2015: Expansion application is formally submitted
  • June 24, 2015: Board of Governors authorizes formal expansion process
  • July 6-20, 2015: Expansion applications are made available
  • Dec. 11, 2015: Board of Governors reaffirms expansion in 2017-18 still a possibility
  • Jan. 7, 2016: New arena officially becomes T-Mobile Arena
  • Jan. 8, 2016: Reports of "secret meeting" to discuss expansion
  • Feb. 8, 2016: More than 14,000 seasonal tickets sold
  • June 7, 2016: Board of Governors formally recommends expansion to Las Vegas
  • June 22, 2016: NHL officially awards expansion team to Las Vegas
  • Oct. 5, 2016: Groundbreaking for practice facility in Summerlin
  • Nov. 22, 2016: Party to unveil name of new team


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