NHL News

Cassidy proud to add to Vegas’ title landscape

LAS VEGAS — Vegas Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy played and coached in three established professional sports cities before arriving in Las Vegas.

After the Golden Knights hoisted the Stanley Cup in the team’s sixth NHL season – and Cassidy’s first as their coach – Sin City has become a two-time titlist in less than a year after. The Las Vegas Aces won the WNBA championship last fall.

“Vegas has become a market just like all the other major ones now, slowly but surely,” Cassidy said Friday. “You gotta build some history to do that. And to build history you gotta win championships. So good for the Aces and good for us to get championships.”

Cassidy played in Chicago and coached in Washington and Boston before being hired as the third coach of the Golden Knights.

When he was drafted to play for the Blackhawks in 1983, the franchise was 58 years old – Cassidy’s current age. His next two stops also had decades of pro sports history.

Then came Las Vegas, which not too long ago wasn’t even allowed to advertise its city as a tourist attraction during Super Bowl commercials.

Cassidy’s first thought after he took the Vegas job: “You think of the strip, right? I’m not the only guy to ever say that.”

But then he moved here and started seeing communities and neighborhoods, families and youth hockey teams – anything and everything but Las Vegas Boulevard.

Exactly one year after his introductory news conference, he spoke with a bit of pride about his new place in Las Vegas’ professional sports landscape.

“It’s obviously taking off,” Cassidy said. “It’s kind of nice to be part of the infancy of this. I mean, I might look back when I’m 85 years old and say, ‘I was there when it all started.’ Which would be kind of cool.”

General manager Kelly McCrimmon and president of hockey operations George McPhee, who have been with the Knights since their inception, have watched as the WNBA and NFL followed the NHL’s move to Las Vegas.

“In a sense, pro sports are now part of the identity of our city,” McCrimmon said. “You look at those things that no one can ever take away from, you will always have the pride that comes from being the first one. The pride that comes with being ‘Vegas Born.'”

McCrimmon mentioned the mass shooting at a music festival on Oct. 1, 2017 – the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history – and the Golden Knights’ debut just nine days later.

“Some of those things will never change,” he said. “I expect we’ll be overwhelmed tomorrow when we see the support that will be there for the parade. George talks about it all the time. (Owner) Bill (Foley) talks about it all the time, we want to be part of the community, we want our players to be part of the community.”

Added McPhee: “Yes, it’s great to have your name on a Stanley Cup. Yes, it’s great to get a Stanley Cup ring, but the experience with this group of players, that experience is amazing and rewarding, but the uplift that you give to a city is really what matters.”

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