| October 27, 2016 | Lifestyle
Vegas scores its first major league sports team! Poker pro Daniel Negreanu shoots from the hip about hockey on the strip.
“We have this beautiful, state-of-the-art building in T-Mobile Arena,” says poker great and hockey superfan Daniel Negreanu. “Hockey is going to give us an identity apart from gaming.”
Canadian-turned-Las Vegan, number-one-earning player in pro poker, and “hockey super fan” Daniel Negreanu can’t wait for the 2017–18 season, now that the NHL has approved an expansion franchise. It’s safe to say Negreanu will be a familiar face at the team’s home games at T-Mobile Arena.
You’re one of majority owner Bill Foley’s “Founding 75,” who helped bring the NHL to Vegas. Is the city enthusiastic?
The building will fully sell out for the first season, and likely the second and third, so I’d say that’s excitement.
And do you think tourists will go to games?
Vegas knows how to make this a spectacle, and people whose home teams are playing will come to Vegas just to make a weekend out of it. Think anyone ever says, “Hey, let’s go to Columbus for the weekend?”
So does this mean you’ll lose your allegiance to the Maple Leafs?
Vegas and Toronto are in separate conferences, so the only time I’d have a question of allegiances is if they both got good enough for the finals.
Aside from the glitz, what makes Vegas a great hockey town?
For one thing, there’s no state tax. If you offer $3 million to a player here, he’ll make more money than in other cities. Plus, hockey cities like Edmonton are cold! It’s going to be really easy to attract a young, single kid to Las Vegas. Across the city, we’ll get kids engaged from an early age. Las Vegas is basically a city of displaced souls, and this will bring us together.
PhotograPhy by Ethan MillEr/gEtty iMagEs (arEna); andrEy yurlov (hockEy PlayEr)