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September 21, 2017

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Ray Brewer: From the Pressbox

ray brewer:

Vegas Golden Knights is just a name, not what’s important

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Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau

People get a look at the hockey layout of T-Mobile arena after the unveiling of the name of the NHL’s newest team, the Vegas Golden Knights, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.

Vegas Golden Knights Unveiled

The logo for the Las Vegas NHL franchise is unveiled during a ceremony in the Toshiba Plaza at T-Mobile Arena Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. The team name is the Vegas Golden Knights. Launch slideshow »

Now that we’ve had a few days to let it sink in, it’s safe to say Vegas Golden Knights has a nice ring to it, right?

Actually, we’ve had many months to process what’s truly important: It’s not the name of our National Hockey League team that’s significant; rather it’s the fact that we have a franchise that needed a name.

What’s even more important is the team cost taxpayers nothing. Majority owner Bill Foley put up more than $500 million for expansion fees and startup costs, and MGM/AEG built the $375 million T-Mobile Arena. All that’s left for you: Show up on game day and cheer.

But don’t complain, please. It makes you seem entitled. After years and years of misses in trying to become a pro-sports city, we’ve finally graduated. Why become frustrated with something out of your control and forget to look at the big picture? At least we have a team.

Don’t say Vegas Golden Knights alienates Las Vegans expected to support the team because it’s missing the "Las” and question how you are supposed to support something that doesn’t resonate with you. Again, look at the big picture: We have a team, finally.

What’s lost in the argument is that Foley plans on selling massive quantities of memorabilia to tourists and will flip that money into building a first-class, winning franchise. There was so much interest during Tuesday’s name-unveiling party that long lines formed outside a pop-up store near T-Mobile Arena, with fans willing to wait hours to own the first pieces of Golden Knights swag.

“Hopefully there’s some left,” said Brian McLeod, a 39-year-old local season-ticket holder originally from Spokane, Wash. “There are several hundred people ahead of us in line. I’m hoping to get a couple shirts, a hat and maybe some stuff for the folks back home.”

How awesome is that? Someone in Washington state will be supporting our team and wearing our brand. It’s a brand that’s going become one of the most-known in the league, if not all sports. Many are going to want Golden Knights apparel because the team is housed in one of the world’s most famous cities.

Foley has made a fortune in business. It’s safe to assume he analyzed the options on the look and feel of the logo, name and design to determine what would sell best. You don’t become a billionaire by making poor choices.

“It exudes everything I’m proud of and everything I believe in, as far as creating this team and the culture we’re going to have around this team,” he said.

Many have said using just Vegas appeals to visitors more than locals. Well, OK. Let’s not be naive to the fact that if it weren’t for the visitors, there would be no Las Vegas. Many residents work on the Strip and rely on visitors to support their families. Remember, Foley is bringing 40-plus entertainment nights a year, many midweek, to the Strip in what will be a massive boon to our economy.

Hockey-goers will be spending money at bars, restaurants and casinos on game nights, coming together with a common interest of cheering for the home team. And when that team starts winning games, make a playoff run or captures a championship, the least of our worries will be what we call it.

We’ll have plenty to disagree about moving forward — whether to change coaches, how to execute the power play or how much we hate the Los Angeles Kings. Disputing the name, on the other hand, is a waste of time. It takes away from what’s really important, the fact we have a team.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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