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July 23, 2019

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By broadcasting select games in Spanish, Golden Knights aim to reach new demographic

Golden Knights Coach Gerard Gallant

AP Photo/John Locher

Bill Foley, owner of the Vegas Golden Knights, attends a news conference Thursday, April 13, 2017, in Las Vegas. The Vegas Golden Knights have hired Gerard Gallant as the first coach of the NHL expansion team.

Updated Tuesday, April 18, 2017 | 10:26 a.m.

When the Vegas Golden Knights take the ice this October, they’ll be one of three NHL franchises whose fans can listen to a Spanish-language broadcast.

That’s by design.

Select games of the expansion team will air on ESPN Deportes 1460-AM in Las Vegas, helping majority owner Bill Foley fulfill his desires to develop a fan base with the area’s heavy Hispanic population.

“I’ve always viewed your flagship partner as being one of your most important relationships as a professional sports team,” Golden Knights President Kerry Bubolz said. “It’s not just the economics of the business deal, it’s having the right partner to take the team to the market.”

The initial plan is to air a game of the week in Spanish to gauge the community’s interest. The Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers also air games in Spanish.

“We are going to give it a try,” Foley said. “Hispanics and Latinos are generally soccer-oriented, but we believe we can bring the kids along with our youth hockey programs that we will be developing. If the kids take (the sport of hockey) home, the parents will convert.”

More than 650,000 Hispanics call Southern Nevada home, making up 31 percent of the total population.

“We want to reach out to the Hispanic community and say, ‘If you’re not familiar with this great game, we’re going to get sticks in kids' hands and teach this sport,’” Bubolz said. “If soccer happens to be their favorite sport, or football or whatever sport it might be, we’ve got another great option here in Las Vegas now with the great game of hockey.”