Sunday, May 27, 2018 | 2 a.m.
When the Golden Knights equipment staff stitched the “Inaugural Season” patches onto their sweaters prior to the season, no one expected those patches would have to be removed to make room for a Stanley Cup Final patch.
But that’s the strange reality of this unbelievable season, with staff putting the final touches on Vegas’ Stanley Cup jerseys on Friday afternoon. The Golden Knights host Washington for Game 1 at 5 p.m. Monday at T-Mobile Arena.
“I wouldn’t have believed you, that’s for sure,” defenseman Nate Schmidt said, laughing. “I definitely wouldn’t have believed you.”
Fans are also gearing up for the historic game, bringing their jerseys to the team store at the team’s City National Arena headquarters with hopes of getting the patch pressed on. The store expanded its hours to accommodate the crowd, which features a multiple-hour waits simply to get in.
“Ten years ago if you told me I’d be going to a Stanley Cup game in Las Vegas, I would have laughed in your face,” said local fan Larry Graham, who was standing in line wearing a No. 5 Deryk Engelland jersey.
Graham, 43, has lived in Las Vegas for 30 years and his family had season tickets to the Las Vegas Thunder minor league hockey team back in the 1990s.
His jersey didn’t yet have an inaugural season patch, so he wasn’t faced with the same dilemma as many other fans. The choice of putting the Stanley Cup patch on the opposite side of the jersey, or buying a new one all together is one that no other fanbase in NHL history has had to make.
“It’s a pretty crazy decision when you think about it,” fan Shaya Moss said. “I was actually debating getting an away jersey and putting one on each.”
Past teams have had patches removed to make way for one bearing Lord Stanley’s Cup, but they are usually patches designating a team’s 10th, 25th or 50th anniversary as a franchise, not their first.
The patches are one of the hottest commodities at the store, officials said.
“The demand for them has been incredible,” said Brian Killingsworth, the team’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “People are buying stacks of 10. They want one that we can apply on their jersey (right in the store) and a couple just to keep.”
The patches cost $30 and can be pressed onto your jersey right at the store for no charge. Killingsworth said they received the first order of patches on Tuesday and they’ve nearly sold 3,000 of them.
“We had to place another order,” he said. “It’s phenomenal. Kudos to our fans and the community for coming out.”