The NHL has embraced everything Las Vegas in the last decade-plus, and the league’s newest players next year will have their names called along the Vegas Strip.
The Sphere, which is owned by New York Rangers and Knicks owner/governor James Dolan, hasn’t hosted a sporting event yet, but it was a featured attraction for the Las Vegas Grand Prix and the NBA’s Summer League.
In October, UFC boss Dana White made it clear that he wants his company at the venue for Mexican Independence Day weekend in September 2024.
In his post, Dreger also noted that this will be the last draft before what’s being called decentralizing. Typically, every team conducts its business at the draft site, with dozens of tables set out between the stage and the families and fans in the seats. However, the NHL is taking a page from its peer leagues starting in 2025, allowing each franchise to set up “war rooms” in their facilities instead of the draft site.
The NFL and WNBA have made homes in Las Vegas, while the NBA’s in-season tournament furthers its own relationship with the city and the Oakland A’s hope to relocate there in a few years. However, no league has wrapped its arms around “Sin City” more than the NHL, even before the arrival of the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights.
The league has hosted its annual NHL Awards in the city since 2009, and the Los Angeles Kings played exhibition games in Las Vegas for a decade before moving the “Frozen Fury” series to Salt Lake City for neutral-site games against the Golden Knights.
The NHL also had the first outdoor game take place in Las Vegas, a preseason tilt between the Kings and the New York Rangers in 1991. That history is likely to be called back when the champs play the Seattle Kraken at T-Mobile Park for the Winter Classic in January.