Strip-mining for hockey love in Sin City

Strip-mining for hockey love in Sin City

LAS VEGAS—If you’re a hockey fan and you come to Las Vegas — and the Vegas Golden Knights are pretty sure you’re coming — you’re going to want to know how your favourite ice sport is going to fare in the desert.So, you ask around. And things start out badly when your cab driver says: “Hockey?” and says it like he’s pronouncing it for the first time.His name is Shaman, and he’s from Iran. And when you add the word “ice” in front of hockey and prompt him with the team name, something tweaks his memory: “I’ve never seen hockey. It’s like basketball, right? Where you have the ball and hit it with the thing?”You move on. Shaman drops you at your hotel where Lucy checks you in and things take a promising turn when she asks if you’re in Vegas for business or pleasure and you tell her: Yes, for both. For hockey.“Yeah, we’re getting a team,” she says. “A new team. We haven’t had any team, except for Triple-A Baseball. I’m excited.”Article Continued BelowLucy sends you to Shirley, to set you up for your Player’s Card, where if you bet $10 on a table game the casino will match your $10. You can’t lose, you think. And Shirley, a lovely grandmotherly type from New Jersey, makes it sound as if hockey saved her grandson from some sort of family shame. She makes it sound like hers was an athletic family, where everyone took pride in their basketball and football prowess. Everyone but one boy.“My grandson cannot play . He has no rhythm. He cannot play . He cannot dribble. But he plays hockey in high school.”

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