Plenty of questions remain on a proposed Henderson arena, as officials in the Las Vegas suburb and the Vegas Golden Knights continue discussions about the potential AHL venue.
The Golden Knights recently received AHL approval to purchase the San Antonio Rampage franchise membership from Spurs Sports & Entertainment and relocate the team to the Las Vegas area after this season. Long-term plans for the yet-to-be-rebranded AHL squad include the construction of a new arena in Henderson, with the Golden Knights and city officials announcing last month that they are exploring the construction of a new 6,000-seat venue at the Henderson Pavilion site.
Since the proposal was unveiled, it has drawn concern from some residents for a potential negative impact in the area, such as increased traffic. A public meeting on Monday provided an opportunity for the city to discuss the project and gather feedback from residents, but Henderson officials stressed that are still plenty of questions to be answered about the proposal. More from the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Assistant City Manager Robert Herr conceded Monday that the announcement did not adequately address the community benefits of a new arena. The city has said it could host concerts and other performances.
“Tonight is a lot about listening,” he said. “We don’t have all the answers.”
Herr did not discuss the anticipated cost of the venue with those who attended the meeting, but Mayor Debra March has said the city would pay for half of the arena with up to $40 million in public money. Henderson spokeswoman Kathleen Richards said the mayor’s estimate was premature and that the cost has not been determined.
Henderson officials and the Golden Knights have pitched the arena as not only a venue for minor-league hockey, but also for a wide range of offerings that could include concerts and other performances, high school and college graduations, other sporting events, and more. For the city, it would also address the future of Henderson Pavilion, a 6,500-capacity venue that is facing a number of challenges, including a failing sound system and seating. In addition, its canopy structure suffered damage from weather incidents twice in recent years, leading to the complete removal of the venue’s tent-like cover last year, according to the city.
The current Rampage will relocate and rebrand after the current 2019-20 season, with home games next year to be played at Las Vegas’s Orleans Arena. The AHL franchise will have its headquarters and practice facilities at Lifeguard Arena, an under-construction venue in downtown Henderson that is being planned as a separate project from the proposed venue for home games. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, will continue to train at a Summerlin arena on the other side of town.
The AHL board of governors signed off on the sale of the team and relocation late last month, and it is already having broader implications on the league. That includes the recent announcement of a new affiliation, as current Rampage NHL parent the St. Louis Blues will begin a five-year affiliation agreement with the Springfield Thunderbirds next season. The Thunderbirds’ current affiliation with the Florida Panthers will continue through the end of the 2019-20 campaign.
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