LEO A DALY-designed City National Arena credited with Las Vegas Golden Knights success
February 13, 2018
The new Las Vegas NHL team, the Golden Knights, are enjoying a spectacular first season. The Las Vegas Sun reported that LEO A DALY’s homey, fan-focused design for the practice facility, City National Arena, might deserve some credit.
Adapted from the article:
City National Arena might be part of the secret to the Golden Knights’ success
Players continue to rave about the Downtown Summerlin-located facility
The Golden Knights are in hockey nirvana at the moment.
Nearly every player on the roster is having a career season, and the team leads the Western Conference. Players also say they’re loving everything about life in Las Vegas, from the nightlife and entertainment, to the easy commute, and most of all, City National Arena.
The 146,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility houses two pristine ice rinks, a weight room, medical facility, players lounge and restaurant with a private chef.
It’s where the players spend most of their time every week, and the $30 million building makes their lives significantly easier.
“I think we’ve offered an upgrade over anywhere they’ve been at,” said Golden Knights senior vice president Murray Craven, who helped design the facility and oversaw construction.
A private chef serves the players breakfast, lunch and pre-game meals on game days. The players can order from a vast menu, so they can mix it up while sticking to their strict nutrition plans. Craven said the players have really embraced the chefs and made them part of the team.
“The players lounge is unbelievable,” Bellemare said. “I’ve played all over the place, even in Europe, and some rinks you’re saying, ‘Let’s get out of this place as fast as possible,’ but that’s not how it is here. It’s really enjoyable.”
The lounge includes multiple flat-screen TVs with games and a pingpong table, which players have turned into a serious competition, with rankings posted on the wall.
That’s exactly what Craven was aiming for when designing the facility, and he believes it’s had a positive impact on the team’s play on the ice.
“It gives them a home away from home,” Craven said. “That’s what we tried to create is that atmosphere that you can play pingpong or Xbox and hang out a little longer. Maybe you stay that extra 10 minutes in the gym waiting for your lunch to be prepared, and that can make the difference. Things like that make it special. That’s what we were trying to capture.”
Nothing makes the players feel more at home than the roar of hundreds of fans as they step onto the practice rink every morning. When Craven built the facility, he made sure there was plenty of room for spectators, with stands to seat 450 people, but he never foresaw the hockey fever that has taken over the city.
“I think that was something that you don’t know what to predict,” Craven said. “You don’t know if people are going to be interested in watching the guys practice, but when you look out there on a weekend and you see it jam-packed with people, it’s rewarding.”
Fans fill the bleachers, then overflow into crowds three rows deep standing on the ends of the rink. Young fans peer through the glass, often holding signs for their favorite Golden Knight. The team has even created a corner for children to hang out with the mascot, Chance, and get autographs from players as practice wraps up.
Craven will occasionally stroll around the facility during the madness, reflecting on the whole process.
“I get a nice feeling inside when I see those bleachers full,” Craven said. “People get to be so close to these players, and not a lot of pro sports can offer that.”
City National Arena has made an impact on both the team’s hot start and the rapidly growing fan interest.
“I think it’s one of the reasons everything is going so well,” Bellemare said. “When things are going well on the ice, everything seems to go well, but our life outside of hockey is great. Vegas is an unbelievable town, so everybody is enjoying that. No one has anything to complain about in the morning because we have it really good.”