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Beer tastings, drum line and Gila monster mascot welcome hockey fans to Knights vs. Kings game in Las Vegas

Beer tastings, drum line and Gila monster mascot welcome hockey fans to Knights vs. Kings game in Las Vegas
Flag bearers and a knight in golden armor lead the Knight Line march through the Park entertainment district prior to each Vegas Golden Knights home game. (Al Powers)

Las Vegas’ new hockey franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, is encouraging Southern Californians to join in the pre-game hoopla before the team squares off with the L.A. Kings next Tuesday.

The Knights may be a first-year expansion team, but their first-in-the-league standing (as of Tuesday) is generating plenty of buzz far beyond Southern Nevada.

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On their home ice, the Vegas Golden Knights face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets in January.
On their home ice, the Vegas Golden Knights face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets in January. (Jeff Bottari/Vegas Golden Knights)

When at home, the team plays in an ideal location for out-of-towners: the T-Mobile Arena, which is linked to the Strip by the Park, a pedestrian mall featuring bars, restaurants and outdoor spaces.

The Park is where hockey fans, regardless of the which team they support, gather for pre-game activities and tailgating. Kings supporters may want to show up well ahead of Tuesday’s 7:30 p.m. puck drop to partake.

Toshiba Plaza outside Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena is a sea of blue as fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs gather prior to a game against the Vegas Golden Knights, an expansion team enjoying great success during their inaugural season.
Toshiba Plaza outside Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena is a sea of blue as fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs gather prior to a game against the Vegas Golden Knights, an expansion team enjoying great success during their inaugural season. (Al Powers)

Three hours before game time, the Park becomes “hockey central” with activities that include games, live music, portable bars and even sign-making stations.

An hour before the game, the fun shifts to Toshiba Plaza, the two-acre site directly in front of the arena. There DJs will continue the music, while fans test their goal-scoring abilities. (Real hockey sticks are used, but balls replace pucks since there is no ice.)

For Angelenos, selfies with the Golden Knights’ smiling Gila monster mascot are optional.

Out-of-town fans are welcome to join in the fun outside T-Mobile Arena prior to Vegas Golden Knights home games.
Out-of-town fans are welcome to join in the fun outside T-Mobile Arena prior to Vegas Golden Knights home games. (Al Powers)

Even Kings backers may want to stay outdoors long enough to watch the procession that winds its way from the New York New York resort into the arena. The Knight Line — a drum line of medieval-costumed characters — marches through the mall to the cheers of home team fans.

Game night at Beerhaus, a German-style beer hall at the Park, brings stalls at which brewers provide free samples. The venue also serves up a special hot dog in honor of the opposing team. Fittingly, at least for the moment, it’s called “The Underdog.”

Info: Vegas Golden Knights, (800) 559-2333

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