Hello hockey fans and welcome to the blog! Today we are going to relay to you all that went down at last Tuesday’s meet and greet with Mr. Bill Foley. 920 AM’s Brian Blessing hosted the event along with The Game Sports Bar inside the Suncoast Casino. On hand representing The Game was Mike Lewis, and a great host he was. Especially with more people there than probably should have been!
Brian led off with some background on Mr.Foley, about how he grew up playing hockey in Ottawa when he was five years old with his USAF Dad stationed there. By now, everyone knows he spent time in Texas as a child as well, (wait, hockey doesn’t work in… oh sorry, never mind, lol) He graduated from West Point too, so thank you Mr. Foley for your service to our country.
Then Brian started talking hockey to the overflow crowd. He said they couldn’t talk specific numbers but noted that NHL Commissioner Bettman had spent the Lion’s share of his time the night before in Winnipeg talking about how “Very, very impressed” he was with the Las Vegas ticket drive and that the model for success as a new franchise was in Winnipeg. Brian thought it was extremely telling that during the first playoff game for the Jets 2.0, that the Commish spent so much time on Las Vegas.
Mr. Foley: Absolutely, he and Vice-Commissioner Daly have both been very supportive and positive of the work we’ve done, the further we go along with the ticket drive, and the founding 75, that I believe we are on the one yard line here with this whole thing.
Brian Blessing: The story came out yesterday saying that if a team is awarded to Las Vegas, we might have to wait until 2017-18 to begin play. People felt a little chicken little maybe, but it’s not a bad thing really, you’ve proven your point, we’d like to play in 2016, but it’s in the league’s corner now.
Mr. Foley: There’s no question we want to play in 2016, but with so much left to do with all the hiring left to do, the General Manager, the scouting and development staffs, starting a whole other franchise with the minor league team and finding a place for them to play, that we could really use the extra time. I need to be patient because I don’t want to rush things and bring a loser in here.
Brian Blessing: You have talked about your goals with the franchise and with the expansion draft and the depth of talent coming through the Junior ranks and into the Amateur Draft, that you think you can be competitive very quickly.
Mr.Foley: Yes I’ve said our goals will be playoffs in three years and a Cup in Eight.
That last answer brought loud cheers from the crowd and then Mr.Blessing opened things up to questions from the crowd. Here are the highlights.
Guest: What are you going to name the team..
Mr. Foley: The season ticket holders will get to submit their favorite names, and then the top ten most popular names will be voted on. But I hope you guys will let me have at least ONE veto vote if I just really don’t like the name.
Loud laughter ensued..
Guest: What about the team colors?
Mr. Foley: Well I kinda like Black,Gold and Gray,.
Take note those are the West Point colors.
We at The Vegas Hockey Podcast reported that Live on Twitter, so we will take credit for breaking that bit of news first. Then we got to ask Mr.Foley a question.
VHP: With yesterday’s announcement concerning the 2017-18 timeline, how do you maintain the momentum you have created during another year of waiting, if the reports are true?
Mr:Foley: Well, what we have to do is stay active in the community and in the media with you guys making sure everything we do and every hire we make from the GM, to the Scouting Staff, when and where the minor league team is going to play, when the expansion draft will be, that we keep communicating with the fans what’s happening and i think those are some ways to keep this thing moving ahead.
Then Mr. Foley introduced the crowd to Murray Craven, 20 year veteran of the NHL and adviser to the ownership group. Murray played twenty years in the NHL with the Flyers, The Canucks, Whalers, Blackhawks and the Sharks. He played in 1,071 games totaling 759 points. He added another 118 playoff games, tallying 70 points and reaching the finals three times. His latest contribution to the Las Vegas effort was to tour the under construction arena, specifically the locker rooms, according to Mr. Foley. Mr. Craven then redesigned the rooms to be NHL ready when the time comes. With Murray that night was Rod Buskas, also a long time NHL player. He spent his 11 years in the league with Pittsburgh, Vancouver,LA, and Chicago. He finished his career playing with the Las Vegas Thunder in 93-95. He said he loves it here and he came for a year, and never left. We hope that both Murray and Rod, with his previous experience playing here in Las Vegas and both of their long NHL histories find a permanent home with the brand new Las Vegas NHL franchise!
So that wraps up the Q and A with Mr.Foley edition of the blog. Thanks to all you listeners and readers who keep reaching out to the show. You guys are awesome, and we have met some great friends right here in Las Vegas too! Keep it up, we answer everything ourselves, so no matter what, you know you are hitting us direct. You can follow us on Twitter , and listen to the show on Soundcloud or ITunes. One honorable mention of the week. Stephane, from Quebec, has reached out to the show and offered to translate our blog into French for all the French speaking hockey fans out there! How awesome is that??? We have titled the page The French Connection, after the great Buffalo Sabres line of yesteryear. So if you speak or read French share the link to that page here on the blog and spread the word. Thanks Stephane, you are the best!!!