LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Everyone deals with defeat differently.
Some say, "Oh well," and move on to the next game, while others are superstitious and have a whole routine to try and get the team back on track. One Las Vegas valley woman dives to great depths to wash away a bad Vegas Golden Knights loss.
Two things you don't expect to do in the desert are hockey and scuba diving.
"It’s weird to have hockey in the desert. It’s weird to be a scuba diver in the desert, and I was like, 'These two go together,'" said Alyce Wheeler, a Vegas Golden Knights superfan.
Throughout the hockey season, Wheeler brings the two together on the banks of Lake Mead. She says it all started after a bad shutout loss to the Dallas Stars in the team's first season.
"We’re like, 'We should probably just go jump in a lake.' Well, we happen to have one. We got in the water and found out that somebody had beat us to it, being Golden Knights fans, and there were some skeletons under there with some Golden Knights stuff. So, we added our sign and took pictures, washed it off, and then they won," said Wheeler.
The rest was history. Scuba diving became a way for Wheeler to wash away the bad juju after a bad loss and make sure her fellow fans are having fun.
"Scuba diving is an amazing thing. It’s quiet. It’s calming. It’s peaceful," said Wheeler. "We have fun with it and it gets people together to get people all excited and then we just have fun," added Wheeler.
She doesn't dive after every loss.
"Mostly losing streaks, yeah. We do this only after major losses and ones we need, when the crowd has come down and there’s not as much excitement. When we need it, we bring it back," said Wheeler.
Wheeler's dive this summer may have been the most important yet. Her goal was to cleanse the team of its controversial, crushing Game 7 playoff loss to the San Jose Sharks.
"We have the plugs from the tank with us and we’re going to pull them and we’re going to let all that bad mojo, Game 7, all that stuff is just going to go right down the drain," said Wheeler.
But, pulling the plug wasn't enough. She had to rough up the shark a bit in its natural environment.
"The fans are ready. Everybody is excited to get that Game 7 loss off and start the season and just prove why T-Mobile [arena], the fortress, is the best place to watch a hockey Game 7 anywhere in the world," said Wheeler.
So, over the long N.H.L. season, when it seems like the losses are adding up, you can count on Alyce Wheeler's cheer to pick the players up, even when she's underwater.