by Leo Jakobson | June 23, 2016
Las Vegas has a professional hockey team, and it will be playing right in the heart of The Strip.

The National Hockey League (NHL) announced on June 22 that the league owners voted unanimously to grant an expansion team to Bill Foley's Black Knights Sports & Entertainment. The new team will play at MGM Resorts International's new T-Mobile Arena near the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard, between the New York-New York Las Vegas Resort & Casino soon-to-be-rebranded Monte Carlo Las Vegas Resort & Casino.

The professional sports team will be an important asset for the meetings industry, as it fills one of the only remaining holes in Las Vegas' entertainment offerings. 

The Arena was built with the express intent of "making it usable by groups," according to Michael Dominguez, MGM Resorts' senior vice president and chief sales officer. Its event spaces include five lounges with capacities ranging from 150 to 700, two 75-person party suites, a party deck with a capacity of 460, as well as four outdoor terraces with a combined capacity of 600, which overlook Toshiba Plaza, a two-acre, open-air event space facing the arena's 175-foot by 45-foot video wall.

The new team is something that both MGM and the city have been lobbying aggressively to bring to the city for years. There is also a serious push to move the National Football League's Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, which will require building a new stadium. 

Hockey will come sooner, with the new team playing in the 2017--2018 season. The announcement was made at the Encore by Wynn Las Vegas by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. The league's officers, Board of Governors, and top players were in town for the annual NHL Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas

There is strong support in the city for a team, with 14,000 fans paying deposits and committing to buy season tickets, and the luxury suites sold out, even before the vote.