Vegas Golden Knights championship parade expected to rival New Year's Eve on Strip, planners say

Vegas Golden Knights fans are expected to jam the Las Vegas Strip for a Stanley Cup victory parade and a rally in front of their home arena to mark the team’s first-ever NHL championship

Ken Ritter
Saturday 17 June 2023 05:08 BST

Tens of thousands of Vegas Golden Knights fans, maybe more, are expected at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip on Saturday for a Stanley Cup victory parade and a rally to mark the team’s first-ever NHL championship.

Las Vegas police prepared Friday for upwards of 100,000 people to cram viewing areas along Las Vegas Boulevard for a celebration that planners were comparing to annual New Year’s Eve fireworks shows that in past years have drawn estimates of 400,000 people. Unlike a winter midnight, evening temperatures are expected to be in the 90s.

The Strip will be closed for the motorcade, which is set to begin at 7 p.m. near Flamingo Road and proceed about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) to Tropicana Avenue before a fan rally at Toshiba Plaza and the Park District in front of T-Mobile Arena.

The team played its first game at the arena as an expansion franchise in October 2017 — just days after a gunman unleashed the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, killing 58 in one night at an outdoor country music concert.

Players who had dubbed themselves the Golden Misfits embraced survivors, first responders and volunteers and the team has over the years become a key part of “Vegas Strong” events aimed at healing community trauma.

Team owner Bill Foley famously predicted that first year the Golden Knights would make the playoffs in three years and win the Stanley Cup in six years. The franchise surprised many by making the playoffs the first year and advancing to the championship before losing to the Washington Capitals in five games.

This year, the Golden Knights cruised through the playoffs, never facing an elimination game, and routed the Florida Panthers, 9-3 in Game 5 on Tuesday. Team captain Mark Stone scored a three-goal “hat trick.” Jonathan Marchessault received the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Marchessault is one of the six original members of the Golden Knights expansion team. He and the others — Reilly Smith, William Karlsson, Shea Theodore, Brayden McNabb and William Carrier — were among the first to hold the Stanley Cup during post-game celebrations.

All week, players have been spotted celebrating at nightspots at some of the same glittery resorts the procession will pass. The casinos have familiar names: Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Bellagio, Horseshoe, Paris Las Vegas, Cosmopolitan, Planet Hollywood, New York-New York, Aria, MGM Grand.

The parade route, arena and plaza also hosted a championship victory celebration last September, after the Las Vegas Aces defeated the Connecticut Sun to win the WNBA Championship. The women’s basketball team also plays at T-Mobile Arena.


Associated Press sports writer Mark Anderson contributed to this report.

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