"How do you land a gig like this?"
It's one of the most common questions I've been asked since the Vegas Golden Knights first preseason game. I still don't fully know the answer.
When my family and I first moved to Las Vegas in April of 2015, I tried to meet someone, anyone I could with the "Vegas Wants Hockey" movement. Once we had a name and a logo, the pieces started falling into place. My friend Rick got me in touch with Todd who works for VGK. From there I met team president, Kerry Bubolz, he ended up introducing me to Jonny Greco, who heads up the entire game day entertainment team. After a lunch meeting and a small tryout, I got a call around 11am on Tuesday Sept 12th. That call was offering me the position of "In Arena Host" for the Inaugural Season for the Vegas Golden Knights, I couldn't believe it!
Fast forward to Sunday October 1st, it was our final preseason game of the year. I had been broadcasting the two days prior from the backstage area of the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The plan was as soon as the game was over, I would meet up with my wife and her friends, who were visiting from Minnesota, at the festival to see Jason Aldean close the weekend. Once I got out of T-Mobile Arena, I decided to let me wife just enjoy the concert with her friends and I'd see her at home.
After getting home and showering, my phone rang @ 10:12pm, it was my wife. I can still hear the tears pouring out of her face as the fear took over her voice, "Someone is shooting here!" I could hear how scared she was, it's something that will haunt me forever. As the sun came up on the next day, I was on the radio trying to help our city and the people that call it home, heal.
The city needed something to cheer for, to get distracted by & then, 9 days later, our home opener came. My good friend Bruce is our PA Announcer for the Golden Knights and when the time came, we had the perfect script, opening ceremony, production team....everything fell into place to create a night of healing. Jonny, Ayron & our entire production team put together a great night and we all rose to the occasion & executed to the best of our abilities that night...Doesn't hurt we scored 4 goals in less than 15 minutes to start the game.
The entire city came together from that game on, hockey fans or not. The team was playing so much more than just a sport! They were playing for the 58 lives lost, hundreds injured, thousands in the attendance at the show & the families that just needed something to hold on to.
Mark, my co-host for VGK games & I are so lucky because we're not just staged up in the castle all game. We get to walk through the crowd, concourse and even interact with the fans that fill Fortress every time we head into battle. Some cities have a "fanbase," what has happened in the middle of the desert, has really made a fanbase into a family. The amount of people that simply give a high five, hug or smile to complete strangers over a sporting event, has helped me heal. It's helped us all heal.
I know the season it's over yet, as a matter of fact, TONIGHT we could lock up a trip to the second round of the playoffs. Sorry LA Kings! (Actually, not sorry AT ALL!) I just wanted to say thank you! To the amazing gameday entertainment team I'm surrounded by, the new friends I've met along the way, the most passionate fans in any sport & this city.
THANK YOU this has been an amazing experience and I hope to share it with you for years to come!
Sin City? Nope! WIN City!