The 2020 NHL Winter Classic was one for the ages and it has only whet the appetite when it comes to the Vegas Golden Knights hosting such an event in the future.
In front of a crowd of 85,000 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on New Year’s Day, the Dallas Stars beat the Nashville Predators 4-2 in a Winter Classic that had everything, and the Vegas Golden Knights must have been watching on with interest.
Because, and we did a piece on this earlier in the week, the Golden Knights and the Winter Classic would go together like a fine PB&J sandwich.
They will have to wait a while given that the Minnesota Wild will host the 2021 Winter Classic at Target Field – the home of the Minnesota Twins.
So, we decided to put together a list of pros and cons as to why the Vegas Golden Knights should be in the conversation when it comes to hosting the 2022 Winter Classic.
Let’s delve right in…
Pro: The Golden Knights are a contender
The Winter Classic is the flagship event of the NHL regular season and, as such, the league try to manufacture the best possible matchups in order to attract a bumper TV audience.
Well, you can’t go far wrong by having the Vegas Golden Knights involved in a Winter Classic, let alone host one.
Since they entered the NHL in 2017 the Knights have been a can’t miss show, transforming into a legitimate contender and taking the hockey world by storm.
After masterminding an Expansion Draft that will change the blueprint for other teams, the Golden Knights have extended their window to win by making a series of aggressive moves in free agency and via the trade market.
And, with their hugely talented core locked down for the foreseeable future, this franchise will keep on doing what they have to in order to improve this roster and give them the best possible chance to succeed.
So, as a result, the NHL can be pretty confident that the Vegas Golden Knights will be at the peak of their powers in 2022 and that will make for an intriguing Winter Classic, no matter who the opponent is.
Con: Desert concerns
Some people reading this will automatically write off the Vegas Golden Knights’ chances of ever hosting a Winter Classic because of where they are based.
However, it would be wise to revisit history, both recent and long ago, before reaching the conclusion that a Winter Classic wouldn’t work in Las Vegas.
Firstly, technology has advanced to such a level these days that almost anything is possible. I mean, just look at the 2020 Winter Classic.
Hosted in Dallas, Texas, at the Cotton Bowl, the NHL’s superb ice-making crew did a fine job in producing a fantastic ice pad with the temperature in Dallas for the game listed at 57 F (14 C).
For context, the temperature in Vegas on the same day was 53 F (12 C), so I think the argument that Vegas isn’t suitable conditions for a Winter Classic is no longer valid.
Also, an outdoor game has already been hosted in the desert. Go back to September 1991 when the New York Rangers and LA Kings faced off in a exhibition game outside Caesars Palace.
The technology has advanced so much since then that I don’t really think the weather in Vegas would pose the NHL too much of a concern.
Pro: Vegas knows how to put on a show
It has been proven time and time again since they exploded onto the scene in 2017, that no organization puts on a better show than the Vegas Golden Knights.
Perhaps that statement rings true in all of sports, let alone hockey.
From crazy pregame shows featuring knights fighting each other, to the likes of the Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil wowing T-Mobile Arena during intermission breaks, the Golden Knights make games a true spectacle.
It is a high-end show every single home game on the strip and they also do a superb job with their production on the jumbotron.
So, it isn’t a stretch to suggest that the Vegas Golden Knights would go absolutely all out to ensure that they put on the best Winter Classic in the history of the National Hockey League.
Conclusion: Strike while the iron is hot
The expression “strike while the iron is hot” rings true in this instance, because the Vegas Golden Knights are certainly the talk of the hockey world.
We’ve touched on many of these points above but it all rings true, the Golden Knights are a bona fide Stanley Cup contender and they will be for the next few years at least.
Hockey in Vegas has proven to be a match made in heaven and the proof is there that a Winter Classic in Las Vegas would attract both a bumper crowd and a significant TV audience.
Also, having a new expansion team host such a prestigious event, coupled with the franchise’s history when it comes to unique entertainment, would give the Winter Classic a different feel to it.
The 2022 Winter Classic hosted by the Vegas Golden Knights would be a real spectacle and I feel it would be a win-win scenario for the National Hockey League.