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Practice Facility Construction Gaining Steam

Senior Vice President Murray Craven checks in with the status of the project

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

Vegas is not a city known for its peace and quiet.

So in a winter that T-Mobile Arena has sat quiet from a hockey standpoint, it's been uncharacteristic for a city more associated with continuous activity.

But while T-Mobile Arena sits without hockey until the Golden Knights' debut this fall, hockey activity hasn't slowed 15 miles west in suburban Summerlin. It's there that after breaking ground on October 5, construction is underway to build a state-of-the-art practice facility for the Golden Knights.

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The facility, situated across from Downtown Summerlin on South Pavilion Center Drive, will feature two NHL-sized ice sheets for both NHL and public uses. The goal of the building isn't only to provide the Golden Knights' front office with a home base, but also as a hub for adult and youth hockey in the region.

With preliminary walls and floors being laid, this week marks a milestone as the first steel will be poured on the site.

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"Our schedule's tight, but we seem to be pushing along," Golden Knights senior vice president Murray Craven, the team's primary executive assigned to the project, recently said.

"We haven't missed too many days. That's the good thing about Las Vegas, you don't miss many days because of weather. "I think the speed that the people work at here, these folks are used to putting up buildings in a relatively short period of time.

"The progress we've made to this point, I think is very much a reflection of how we we've done as a construction team."

Although the site hasn't quite began resembling a hockey facility just yet, the pieces are starting to come together. And on a recent tour of the grounds, Craven shared three thoughts with us of what we can be most excited for when the facility opens.

 

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: On a beautiful morning in Vegas, Senior Vice President Murray Craven is taking us on a tour of our future practice facility. #BoldInGold pic.twitter.com/OwYKIn8CgX

 

1. This Building Is Being Designed For Public Use

In a way that is often different than other sports, professional hockey teams are very much linked to the grassroots of the sport in their region.

It's this sort of involvement from its three NHL teams that has catapulted California to the forefront of this nation's supply of higher-level hockey players, and Arizona to being home to perhaps the NHL's top rookie this season, All-Star Auston Matthews.

With only one locally raised NHL player (Jason Zucker) from the Vegas area, it's the hope that this facility can boost participation in the sport in the region to where Nevada can eventually produce talent as regularly as its neighbors.

Not to mention, simply allow more Las Vegans to have the pleasure of participating in ice sports.

"The public's going to have a great viewing area, from out in the bleachers, the seats right in the rink itself, to a full service restaurant that looks out on both rinks," Craven said.

"To our concourse area at our entrance, where you can also look out (pictured below) onto the ice sheets. Those are the things you don't really see a lot of times in community ice centers are those amenities.

 

 

 

"If you want to come in here for a nice dinner, or if you want to come in for a public skate or drop your son or daughter off. Hockey or figure skating, enjoy the rest of Downtown Summerlin."

 

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: This facility won't only be for the Golden Knights. There will also be a public gym & special viewing areas. #BoldInGold pic.twitter.com/Ezcjh4rGB1

 

2. This Facility Will Be A Lure For Free Agents

Top NHL players often have many choices when it comes from choosing what team to play for.

Especially when that player receives similar offers from numerous teams, sometimes the slightest edge can push one team past another to land his services.

The Golden Knights' hope is that the team's practice facility will be so luxurious, so top of the line, that it'll provide free agents extra incentive to sign with the team. After all, they'll probably spend as much time, if not more time, at the practice facility than they would T-Mobile Arena.

RELATED: Practice Facility groundbreaking photos

"This is 2017 NHL," Craven said. "This is going to be a place that players are going to want to come to and stay at.

"In the past, we came and got the heck out. Here they'll have all the amenities of home. They'll have a beautiful lounge area, beautiful area to have breakfast and lunch, and work out in.

"I could see players coming in here at 8:00 in the morning and leaving at 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Because it's going to be that inviting. We're trying to create that culture where we're going to put in that extra time, because this is going to be an exciting place to be in."

 

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: Craven shows us the space that will eventually become the players' fitness center. #BoldInGold pic.twitter.com/KEpGbwu89t

 

3. Every Last Detail Is Being Focused On

When it comes to constructing a facility capable of attracting NHL free agents, a lot of research is involved.

Craven spent much of the summer in 2016 touring other team facilities throughout the nation conducting this research.

Whether it was trips to the Los Angeles Kings' facility in El Segundo, Calif., or the University of North Dakota's in Grand Forks, Craven has compiled thorough notes and been sharing the insight of a former NHL player with architects and construction crews throughout the process.

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"I think, even just the façade of the building isn't your regular ice rink," Craven said. "If we don't have signage on it, you'll probably think it's an office building. It's going to be that glass front, and all of those elements that are characteristic to Downtown Summerlin.

"Everything from budget, to schedule, to design. Even the littlest things. We talk about what the tile is going to look like in the shower. That's what it comes down to. Even what kind of toilets we're putting in."

To which we asked Craven to elaborate.

"They'll be wall hung," he said with a laugh. "The shower tiles will be the team colors."

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