The Golden Knights outlined a few clear objectives for their pregame ceremonies at T-Mobile Arena before the season ever began.
Jonny Greco, the team’s vice president of events and entertainment, said he sought to oversee a nightly show at T-Mobile Arena that differed from the rest of the NHL franchises’, fostered a home-ice advantage and created a tradition. It’s safe to say Greco and his staff succeeded on all counts after the Golden Knights’ gameday experience became one of most beloved parts of the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Final.
The Golden Knights sold out all 51 of their home games including the playoffs, and few seats were ever vacant in the minutes before they took the ice. No one wanted to miss the Golden Knights’ only-in-Vegas type of display.
The lynchpin of the pregame festivities was a medieval-themed performance in which a knight would pry a sword out of stone at the center ice and use it to vanquish a foe waving the opposing team’s flag. Golden Knights owner Bill Foley conceived the idea in his mind shortly after announcing his team’s name, and followed through to make it as grand as possible.
The presentations amplified in the playoffs. The knight slayed a king in a ring of fire illuminated on the ice for the first-round series against LA, conquered a circling shark in the second round versus San Jose and sliced an airplane in half against the Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference finals.
Facing elimination in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, the knight was surrounded by a number of hooded henchmen in Capitals’ colors but battled his way out to raucous applause. Alas, the Golden Knights couldn’t do the same, falling 4-3 to the Capitals.
But they led for a decent stretch of the game after being spurred on by the crowd, which ramped up its energy after the pregame. Television channels went to uncommon lengths to air Vegas’ in-arena entertainment in full throughout the playoffs, so the spectacle is now associated with the franchise nationwide.
In one season, the show before the game has already become a bona fide Golden Knights staple.