Team sports businesses haven’t been exactly brimming with kindness to Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman. Try as he might – bless his ever-loving, gin-drinking pickled heart – efforts to bring a pro major league team to Las Vegas throughout his tenure have not produced results. Apparently, for now at least, the long established Las Vegas gambling brand doesn’t mix well with courting pro sports teams in the City of Entertainment.
The good news, though, is that the National Hockey League will at be having their prestigious 2009 NHL Awards in Las Vegas and the NHL Players’ Association will also hold its annual North American summer meetings here around the awards show.
It marks the first time the annual awards show is being held in Las Vegas, an event usually reserved for Toronto, coinciding shortly after completion of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
For the Las Vegas Wranglers, a minor league hockey farm club of the Calgary Flames of the NHL, it will undoubtedly be a a dream come true to conveniently head down the Strip and perchance rub elbows with the best pro players in the game.
In the twilight of the Las Vegas mayor’s last term, the biggest names in major league pro hockey will assemble in Las Vegas on June 18 at 4 p.m. at The Pearl Concert Theater in George Maloof’s Palms Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas, opting to briefly trade their rink ice for lots of ice to chill their drinks in the hot box of a town.
For many Las Vegans, however, the event may be akin to witnessing a UFO experience of a different kind. Las Vegas denizens don’t bet on hockey games, let alone who is going to win the MVP Trophy or Coach of the Year. They have way to many other things to do these days- like worrying about their jobs and paying their mortgages.
And, if you’re an Ordinary Joe, you’ll need to really dig deep in your tattered wallet to be a part of the history-making hoopla– attending will set you back $504 at least per seat.
But, from most accounts, for those that are fortunate to attend (or go in hoc trying), it should be a pretty good bash, inasmuch as owner George Maloof knows a thing or two about sports and Las Vegas since he is the owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.
“We are so thrilled to be the host of the 2009 NHL Awards,” Palms Owner George Maloof said in a statement. “Working with the National Hockey League in bringing this event to Las Vegas is something that will be great for our community.”
At the ceremony the league will announce top performers in a variety of categories including valuable player (Hart Trophy), outstanding goaltender (Vezina Trophy), outstanding defenseman (Norris Trophy), outstanding rookie (Calder Trophy), and best coach (Jack Adams Award).
To sweeten the attendance draw, award-winning multi-platinum recording artist Robin Thicke and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Chaka Khan will perform, and Saturday Night Live bandleader Katreese Barnes will head up the NHL Awards house band.
Celebrity hockey-loving fans Snoop Dogg, Michael Buble, William Fichtner, Tricia Helfer, Lauren Holly, Colin Ferguson and others are scheduled to appear alongside such NHL stars as Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green of the Washington Capitals, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings, Kris Versteeg of the Chicago Blackhawks, Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins, Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers and many more planning to attend.
Past and present NHL stars are also scheduled to participate in the 2009 NHL Awards include Tony Esposito, Sergei Fedorov, Ron Francis, Doug Gilmour, Kelly Hrudey, Pat LaFontaine, Igor Larionov, Brian Leetch, Reggie Lemelin, Mark Messier, Stan Mikita, Andy Moog, Joe Nieuwendyk, Luc Robitaille and Jeremy Roenick.
Athough it’s the inaguaral event for the City of Entertainment, it will be more than a one-night stand for the City of Entertainment. The NHL and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority (LVCVA) have inked a three-year agreement to continue to bring the NHL awards to the Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms Casino & Hotel.
The awards will be broadcast live from the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas on high definition VERSUS in the United States and CBC in Canada. NHL.com will provide streaming Internet coverage of the red carpet arrivals. The Canadian band Arkells will perform.