Monday, June 3, 2019 | 12:34 p.m.
Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland took his spot on the platform, played with a puck for a moment then fired it at a piece of glass, shattering it in front of a cheering crowd.
The shot kicked off demolition this morning of the downtown Henderson Convention Center, which the team is converting into an NHL ice facility. Tentatively being called Vegas Golden Knights at Henderson, it is set to open in July 2020.
While City National Arena will remain the team’s practice venue, the new facility will host youth hockey programs similar to those at the Summerlin facility.
“It’s a great opportunity for families not to have to make the trek out to Summerlin and gives them something in their backyard,” Engelland said. “It’s going to help grow the area, the community.”
The Golden Knights estimate 30 percent of those participating in its youth programs are from Henderson, and the figure could be higher if not for the cross-valley commute.
“How many kids were over here that didn’t get the opportunity to play because of that issue with trying to get to Summerlin from here?” team President Kerry Bubolz said.
The new facility will include two NHL-sized rinks, as well as a restaurant overlooking the ice. It will host watch parties for Golden Knights games, as well as player and executive appearances.
Beyond that, there are talks of getting players on the ice for development camp and rookie showcases, Bubolz said.
Mayor Debra March said the new facility will help revitalize downtown Henderson. “Water Street’s kind of been struggling for many, many years,” she said.
Henderson is doing what it can to grab onto the valley’s burgeoning pro sports scene. The NFL’s Raiders are also building a practice facility in Henderson, though on the opposite side of the city.
“Sports is at home in Henderson, Nevada, and we are welcoming them,” March said.
For the Golden Knights, the expansion into Henderson is a continuation of the team’s objective to reach all of Southern Nevada.
Next, they plan to “start to look beyond the valley to see what’s next,” Bubolz said. “We really believe there’s enough demand for the game to build more facilities.”