When the Vegas Golden Knights announced their AHL team name and logo to the public on Thursday night, the Henderson Silver Knights were introduced to their new home and the organization as a whole could finally point to the team as the result of a process more than a year in the making.
Chairman and CEO Bill Foley said after the team's hour-long Reveal Knight special that the desire to bring an AHL affiliate to the valley was driven by a broad vision of organizational success. General Manager Kelly McCrimmon and President of Hockey Operations George McPhee presented the idea to Foley with a list of benefits that included ease of travel and reduced expenses for player transactions.
All of the reasons for the team to bring their AHL affiliate to Henderson boiled down to the notion that the Golden Knights could control their own destiny on and off the ice with their farm team in the same metropolitan area.
"It's so convenient and it makes so much sense," Foley said. "I can go down to watch the Silver Knights play if the Golden Knights aren't in town. I can run over there to the Orleans and eventually the arena in Henderson to watch our guys play and learn more about the guys that are coming up to be the next wave of Golden Knights"
Foley added that the proximity of the NHL club will give the Silver Knights players a first-hand look at what it takes to reach the Golden Knights' roster and add fuel to their fires for reaching the top league in the world. With the organization's eyes on Henderson, putting your best foot forward and keeping it there is paramount for each player.
"Playing in Henderson is going to be amazing," said Silver Knights forward and 2017 VGK draft pick Ben Jones. "Being a few minutes down the road from the big club will be interesting because it will keep players honest. You never know who's going to pop in the door. It could be George McPhee, one of the coaches or Bill Foley and that's going to keep you honest. Every single player is going to have to bring it every day and every rep. There's no chance to slack off otherwise people will be watching, and people will know."
The nature of the AHL is to prepare players to join their NHL clubs by providing a high-level of competition and emphasizing the details that round out a complete professional. That relationship exists in the brand story behind the Silver Knights and the details in the team's logo are examples that Jones said are indicative of the care the organization will put into the team.
"You can see that the logo is a pretty awesome logo," Jones said. "It's going to look pretty great on the jerseys. The details put into it are pretty astonishing. All of the little things put into it like the chainmail and the rivets representing the 2020-21 season, you see all of the passion that went into it. That is an indication on how excited and how driven everyone is about this franchise."
On top of the Silver Knights logo's seamless fit into the brand and culture of the Vegas Golden Knights, Foley is proud of the intimidation factor that comes with the armored warhorse.
"I always thought it would be a great combination to have the knight and the warhorse, Foley said. "Could you imagine being an archer or a swordsman in the medieval times and the warhorse and knight are racing toward you? We just felt like it was a terrifying thing for the opposition to see the knight and warhorse."
The concept of the Silver Knights was born from a knight's quest to become elite. As is the case with every NHL organization, the focus is to win the Stanley Cup. An in-depth look at any championship roster would reveal the importance of a strong American Hockey League affiliate preparing players to compete for the ultimate prize. As the new farm team for the Golden Knights, Henderson will become the well from which the parent team collects its water.
Now with a team to call its own, Henderson is ready for hockey. When Foley and the Golden Knights organization approached city officials, the buy-in was immediate as the relationship between the hockey club and municipality grew.
"Henderson has been fantastic," Foley said. "The mayor and city council have been really supportive. They really understand the relevance of having a professional sports team housed there. Eventually, we will be playing all of our games in Henderson and our practice facility of course is in downtown Henderson. Home is Henderson for us. Our guys will be out there in the community helping community efforts in lots of different ways just like our Vegas Golden Knights do. I'm thrilled with our partnership with Henderson and I appreciate all of their help in making this possible."