In a move that was perhaps foreshadowed last week in comments made by Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley, the American Hockey League announced today a revised start date of February 5, 2021.
That means the Henderson Silver Knights will have to wait even longer to make its debut as the Golden Knights’ AHL affiliate.
For the past three seasons, Golden Knights top prospects have developed in Chicago with the Wolves. While Chicago is easy enough to get to and from, Vegas sought to follow the model of many western NHL teams and purchase its own affiliate.
On February 6 of this year the Golden Knights announced they had purchased the San Antonio Rampage franchise, relocating the team to Henderson, Nevada for the 2020-21 season. The Silver Knights are now part of the Pacific Division, playing 68 games compared to the remainder of the league which plays 76. Win percentage is used to determine standings.
Owning and operating an AHL team in the same area keeps costs down and simplifies operations. Development coaches have an easier time keeping an eye on prospects. Scouts can double-dip on games between Henderson and Vegas. The cost of moving a player up and down is minimized when there’s no flights or hotels involved. Plus game-day recalls go from a hurried packing of a bag and panicked attempt to make a three-hour flight to a short drive across town.
But now Silver Knights fans will have to wait just a little longer to see the team make its AHL debut. Will a similar NHL timeline follow? That remains to be seen but seems more likely than ever.