Vegas Golden Knight Fan’s Guide To Getting Thick Skin To The NHL In-Crowd

June 21, 2021
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Great hockey teams with great hockey players, come responsibility…of keeping your emotions in check as a VGK fan.

Vegas Golden Knights hockey fans are spoiled. But is it a good thing?

The world’s most passionate hockey fan base might be the meanest fan base in sports. Or is it the worst fans with the best fan base? You have to get a hold of your feelings and your soul because this biblical-sports-like following is not easy for the emotionally weak.

Not even the greatest goalie playing the game today, the nicest guy someone could ever meet, an amazing dad and family man, is immune from fans with pitchforks and torches. Marc-Andre Fleury’s flubbing of the puck in game three against Montreal Canadians cost them the game. It put the highly favored Golden Knights down two games to one at that point. What it also did was incite a social media frenzy of some fans calling for Fleury’s execution from the ice.

Heck, just writing this story I am assured wishes of doom and my head removed in City Center of Las Vegas.

The crazy village known as the nation of misfits went as far as saying, ‘He (Fleury) should never see the ice again’, ‘he cost us the Stanley Cup’, Fleury just ended our season.’

Those are actually social media posts on flower’s blunder.

Of course, not all of the faithful are yelling ‘off with his head’ to any player that God forbid makes a mistake. There are the sweet and loving VGK fans. The fans with forgiveness and love for every Golden Knight.

It’s their team home-grown team. But in the eyes of some of the hardcore, do they really love VGK like the ‘rabid’ Vegas hockey fan?  Do they accept the loss and say, ‘well, there is always next year’?  Is that a sign of weakness?

I’m not making this stuff up. Being in Las Vegas during hockey season means instant content.   

But as polar opposites, these fans have one thing in common; they love their hockey team like no other in the league.

2017 created a monster in Las Vegas. The first professional sports team to arrive in the desert, and it happens to play in an ice rink. The pundits said it wouldn’t work, but like everything involving politics, especially these days, it’s all hogwash and insanity.

An expansion team that is supposed to lose 75% of their games, did the exact opposite. Not only did they have a winning season, which is spectacular, but they also went all the way to the Stanley Cup in the inaugural year.  No professional sports team has ever done that.

Pay attention for someone who is or wants to be a new Golden Knights fan.

Here is a fan’s guide to surviving in the ‘village of misfits’

Number one. Are you currently taking any anti-anxiety medication? If not, start immediately. This hockey team will test your stress levels well beyond normality. 

After all, you are a fan of the most talented hockey team in the NHL right now.

For all intents and purposes, the Golden Knights had the best regular-season record in the NHL. But 2021 arch-nemesis, the Colorado Avalanche, took the Presidents Cup away from VGK for having the best overall record in the league. Even though Colorado had fewer wins than Vegas, they won the head-to-head battle.

Maybe it doesn’t make sense. But you’re a Vegas fan, nothing is supposed to make sense.

The two teams played in the second of the playoff to see who would move on and commandeer home-ice advantage through the playoff.

The Knights were down 2-0 versus the Avs and at that time it wasn’t even close. It did not look good for Vegas. But, the village was very vocal.

“It’s over. Season is done. No coming back from this,” was a Facebook post from one of the villagers.

“Deboer (VGK head coach) needs to be fired TONIGHT!” was one post after game-two loss in Denver.

Another fan posted, “It’s not over, we got this.” 

Wait, what? How dare they bring that optimistic attitude. But of course, here comes that responsibility to being a VGK fan when the torches have been lit on you. “Typical Knight fan not knowing Sh*t about hockey.” Ouch!

In the first round of this year’s playoffs, Vegas played the Minnesota Wild. A team that has a regular-season record of 5-1-2 versus the Golden Knights.  The ultimate thorn in the side of Vegas. And of course, the Wild gave them more than they wanted. But versus a team that basically ‘owned’ them all season, VGK pulled off the series and won it.

A post after the Wild series from a fan, “On to greatness. One series down, three to go.”

That didn’t stop the village with yet a ‘loving’ response from the Minnesota series. “A puck would hit you in the face at a hockey game and you still wouldn’t know where you are.”  That’s harsh. But to be fair, if I was hit in the face by a puck, I wouldn’t know where I was either.

Golden Knight fans must have a lot of mental fortitude

Every sports fan base has their village idiot(s).  Fans get frustrated. Passion is brought to the forefront. Your team is the best in the league and they are struggling. That brings out the boo-birds and the ‘haters.’

But there is always category number two in the fan guide and it is the most important to know – you are a member of probably the most passionate fan base in sports.

You’re spoiled and it’s easy to be that way. As a columnist and contributor of the Vegas Golden Knights, it’s easy to get lost in the success, fanfare, and glamour of Las Vegas sports. Being objective, factual, and writing what you see on an organization that had one the best winning percentage in the last four years in all professional sports.

Your team has done what no other expansion team has ever done in the history of professional sports. They have never missed the playoffs, and they are still in the hunt to make the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in four years.

There are the angry apples, but there are way more positive pears in the VGK world

In a letter to the NHL, Las Vegas resident Enne Bond posted some questions on social media asking folks around the world who were Golden Knight fans and where they came from. There were responses from 18 countries saying they were VGK fans.

Apparently, when Bond heard from an Irish VGK fan, that person didn’t have any Golden Knights gear. Bond sent them what seemed to be a care package of VGK gear.

“The response was overwhelming,” Bond wrote in a letter to NHL.com. “It makes my heart so happy and brings a tear to my eye how many fans there are. I love every one of them. I love the world of hockey.”

That is what the VGK fan guide is all about. Bond is the 98% of Vegas fans.

You don’t see that in many mythical fan guides, but the Las Vegas Golden Knights guide, that’s what you mostly see.

Of course, the players and organization have brought the team to Vegas, and winning breeds interest. But the interest has increased dramatically around the world, and that is because of the fan base.

A passionate, positive fan base in an entertainment city is the key to elevating popularity.

Everyone wants to be around the cool kid on campus. Vegas fans are that cool kid on the NHL campus, and the clique is getting bigger and better.