By JENNA RHUDE
Moapa Valley Progress
The National Hockey League has come to Mesquite, NV! Well, not really, but in a way.
A local Bunkerville couple decided to share the excitement of the Las Vegas Golden Knights NHL team with other fans in a series of purely local events. They rented out Theater #3 at the Stadium 6 Theaters in Mesquite. Then they showed games 3, 4 and 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Washington Capitals.
What a great time it was too! While the Knights did lose all three of those, everyone at the theatre had a great time.
As attendees arrived they were greeted by balloons and white towels with the words “Go Knights, Go” inscribed on them. Glow sticks were shining, lights were waving and the crowd was hollering.
One of the significant moments noticed first off was the attention paid to our nation’s flag and national anthem. A flag was brought out and a light shined on the stars and stripes as the crowd came to their feet and removed their caps. The anthem was sung and then the fun began.
Not following the more silent tradition of a theater, the crowd was encouraged to whoop, clap, yell and fully experience the game. This was difficult for some in the beginning, being conditioned to be quiet in the theater. But by the end the crowd was cheering and going wild for the Knights.
During game 5 on Thursday a short clip from ventriloquist Terry Fator was played during intermission. Fator and his “friend” performed a song about the Golden Knights playing against the Washington Capitals. Every effort was made to give the fans the opportunity to fully enjoy the games.
One local man shared his time and talents with fans by offering raffle items, personally made by his own hand. Also offered in the raffle were stickers, a t-shirt and several hockey pucks. The raffle was held to help offset the cost of renting the venue.
Fans could also make a small donation to help cover the cost of the theatre. When asked, none of the fans had a problem with a small donation to have such a fun experience.
What inspired the renting of the theater? The couple wanted to have a “gathering to share the experience of cheering and watching the game with other fans.” While most of the crowd was from Mesquite and Moapa Valley, some fans came from St. George; and even as far as Layton, Utah; to share in this experience. The event saw crowds ranging from 50-90 people in attendance at each game.
After having attended one game at the Team Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Connie Rozar from Mesquite said, “this is as close to being at a game as you can get. It’s the next best thing to watching the game live from the ice.”
All ages attended this event. There were young children, and those young at heart.
Eight-year-old Madison from Bunkerville said that it was “super fun to watch and so exciting!”
Toni Mortensen attended all 3 games in Mesquite and said that she is “thrilled to live so close to a professional (NHL) team.
After talking to several people in the theater and asking what made them a fan of the Golden Knights over any other team, the answer was not as obvious as one would think. The majority of people said that the response from the team after the Las Vegas shooting on October 1, 2017 and their involvement with the community is was made them start watching the Knights. It was also said that the team seems to play a cleaner game than is typical. They appear to care for each other on and off the ice.
The Las Vegas Golden Knights have been referred to as the “Cinderella” team or the “Misfits”. They are a pick-up team in their first year. Amazingly, their Cinderella dream did come true. Though they missed out on the Stanley Cup, this year, the team that should never have come this far, made it to the finals. So now we will be looking for this team to do great things next year.