City National Arena has been going up in the blink of an eye, and today, the Vegas Golden Knights' new practice facility reached a new milestone.
It now has ice.
The first of two ice sheets were put down at the new facility in Summerlin on Wednesday. While the temperature reached triple digits outside, it was nice and cool on the inside as Dan Patterson, general manager of City National Arena, showed off Vegas' brand-new ice.
"It's a day that we've been looking forward to since we started this," he said. "It's a really big day, it's nice that it's only 40 degrees in here, as opposed to 110 degrees, so it's really nice to see it coming together and we're looking forward to getting skating on the ice."
When City National Arena opens its doors, it will essentially double the number of ice sheets in the city. According to Golden Knights Senior Vice President Murray Craven, that will essentially knock down one of the biggest barriers to growing youth hockey in Las Vegas.
"It's critical," Craven said. "That's what's held back the growth is just not enough opportunities. With us coming in and adding two sheets, it just gives us that extra ice time. Kids go to school and the ice time is basically between 5 and 9:00 and on the weekends. So, we're going to be able to not quite obviously double the opportunities out there, but at least provide the opportunities for more kids to start."
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Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland, who was on hand to see the ice for himself, is excited to see how youth hockey will take off with two more ice sheets in town.
"To just have the facilities that kids can come out and learn the game and stuff like that," he said. "To have the team here out in the community and available to help kids learn how to play and get more people involved in it, it's a huge step and this facility, it's top notch and it'll be nice to come in here for families and get the kids out there."
While the temperatures were sweltering outside, the staff at City National Arena made sure the ice inside stayed completely cool.
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NHL ice makers have been putting ice sheets in warm climates for years, and the ice quality should never be an issue at this brand-new facility.
"We have state of the art equipment," Craven said. "Everything should be just fine as far as us keeping ice whether it's 120 degrees out or whether it's 20."
Once the building is up and running, City National Arena will become the home of the Vegas Golden Knights staff. However, the facility will be more than just an office or a restaurant or a pair of ice sheets.
It will be a home for the Las Vegas community.
"It's going to be exactly that," Patterson said. "It's going to be a home. Anybody can come here and skate any time of the day, they can come by and just get out of the heat if they want. They can come to the restaurant here, eat some food, or just check out what we've got going on here."