Friday, 25 November 2016


Adjective, Noun, Tour Package

Vegas Golden Knights: I have paid for an all inclusive vacation package which includes buffets and tickets for Cirque du Carrotte en Haute; the sardine can flight taxis down the runway and U-turns as the tour operator declares bankruptcy. My dream of an Ocean’s 11 holiday, three glorious golden nights in Sin City – hey, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – are shattered.

Thirty National Hockey League owners welcomed the Vegas Golden Knights to pro hockey’s clubland last Tuesday. Technically the team will begin competing for the Stanley Cup next season. Realistically they will be dreadful for winters to come. When the novelty and the buzz of another new desert attraction fades, this squad will still stink like the other zombie carcasses in sunny non-traditional hockey markets.

Is Vegas Golden Knights as dumb a name for a fledgling franchise as Mighty Ducks of Anaheim? Maybe not, as the newly sanctioned moniker consists of only three words. And yet, there’s a crowded elevator whiff about it, of misguided marketing directives trumping common sense. Las Vegas is a city in Nevada. Vegas were compact Chevrolets. Sports teams normally style themselves as representing the city or region in which they play their home games. The geographical proper noun should always be incorporated as a matter of courtesy and clarity. Leave the abbreviated slang to the locals and the headline writers to evolve organically and without contrived artifice.

Las Vegas Golden Knights doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue. Four words. So now the adjective in the team’s nickname becomes irksome. And “golden” is not new to the NHL either, fans of a certain age will recall the extinct California Golden Seals. There are other colourful adjectives in the league: the Blue Jackets and Red Wings are led by short, primary descriptors. Golden isn’t a colour so much as a meaningless two syllable hue or glow.

Since the NHL’s latest pigeon, erm, owner, apparently had his heart set on Knights for personal reasons (West Point grad and CEO of Black Knight Financial Services), he could have settled on the cleaner, simpler and slightly suggestive Las Vegas Knights even though knights, excepting one themed hotel and a few exalted British performers, have nothing remotely to do with, erm, Vegas. Then again, does anything on or near the Strip have a connection to reality as most of us have come to understand it? Here come the G’ Knights.

The club’s primary logo isn’t aces, nor is it an utter disaster. Imagine a medieval battle helmet as rendered in a comic book or video game. However the team’s colour palette is as busy as an overbooked discount excursion. There are four according to and each possesses gravitas: steel grey (“strength and “durability”); black (“power” and “intensity”); red signifies the city’s skyline (neon signs) and the rusty stone found in desert canyons; gold of course is a nod to the state’s precious metal mining industry. Who knows what the laundry will ultimately look like but given what players have worn during the past two all-star games and at the recently resuscitated Canada Cup, here’s betting jaded old school fans will wince and cringe. Grey is the new black with red and gold piping, accents, bibs.

The Vegas Golden Knights will be unwatchable in every sense of that word. The real tragedy of this expansion is that the fees paid by this new dog will provide lingering life support for three or four other dogs in the league that need to be put down. Think of the NHL kiting its official MasterCard monthly payment to a Golden Knights Visa. Think of a gambler shuffling plastic in front of an ATM in order to keep playing the slots because he’s due and there’s got to be some money had from somewhere from some account. What could possibly go wrong in a house, an industry, made of cards?

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