As the NHL All Star Game approached, Brian and I had a great idea to bring our boys to the game in Vegas. Brian’s son, Maddox, is 7 years old and my son, Mark, is 15. Both play hockey and love watching as fans. With Vegas being close to home with easy access to everything, tons of great food and supposedly places to make friendly wagers with close friends, how could we not go?
Friday morning, we had to stop at Eddie’s World on the way out as only Brian had been there before. As a connoisseur of desserts, I was blown away at how many different options for junk food there were. We got the boys some road snacks and headed straight to the Arsenal & City National Arena to start mixing a little business with pleasure. Our first job was to show the boys our product for Lunar New Year in the store so they could see what we did all day – but they really didn’t care. There was a 16U tournament game going on and they were set on watching. We watched the first period, saw a kid score a goal directly from the faceoff and decided it was time to head to the hotel.
Once we checked in, we headed to the Toshiba Plaza to meet up with Hammer. We saw Carrlyn Bathe interviewing Derek Engelland on stage, watched Maddox bang on a drum with the VGK Knight Line, admired all the different jerseys people were wearing and headed in for Shake Shack Round 1. After we saw our bud Matt from the team store and did a little retail walk around, we got settled into our seats and never moved again until it was over. I couldn’t believe how locked in Maddox was and that he never once got up from his seat. He was super bummed that Connor lost the fastest skater but really loved watching everyone in the accuracy contest. I think Mark’s favorite part was Zegras’ breakaway goal. He left that night with homework to watch the movie and finally understand why dodging a wrench is so important.
After the skills contest, we got the boys settled into the room with some video games and us Dad’s hit a nice steak dinner with some friends and checked out some table games. Saturday morning came and we hit that Starbucks breakfast for the boys and got a two mile dad jog in! What a scene to be on the strip running at 8a while people appeared to be still coming back from the night before! With the game early, we got back, rallied the boys and hit Toshiba Plaza again for some pics with the all star pucks, free ice cream from ESPN and got the obligatory Father Son pic in front of the stadium (thanks to Dave Courtney from the Florida Panthers) so we could head inside.
I had no clue who Zed was but Mark was losing his mind when he came out on the ice for the opening ceremony. After a little sadness seeing the Pacific lose in the first round, our day turned around with Shake Shack round 2. I also taught the boys how to track down mascots and MANY photos later we watched MGK. Mark had been excited all week knowing Megan Fox was going to be in the building but we were most surprised at how quickly Maddox became a fan of MGK. MGK was solid and Maddox instantly wanted his music on his iPad (clean versions of course). With the Pacific Division (our home team division) out, we were of course rooting for the Metro because of Freddie and were stoked to see our bud win!
Post game we headed outside and did a little people watching (thanks Biz for meeting Mark and taking a photo) but the biggest highlight for me was seeing Chris Chelios wearing Mark Messier’s badge outside the arena and holding his granddaughter. We got to say hi and meet him (thanks for the intro Carrlyn) but I just didn’t have the guts to ask for a photo and punish the dude with his family by his side. From there we hit the Fan Fest and saw all of the NHL trophies, picked up some hockey cards and chased a couple more mascots around.
We capped the night off by taking the boys to see The Beatles Love show at the Mirage (thanks for the tickets Lou) and realized pretty quickly Maddox didn’t care too much about The Beatles but was intent on playing a little more Minecraft while the show went on. We may have put the boys to bed and hit the tables for a little more fun (we’ll neither confirm nor deny) all while being responsible knowing we’d be hitting the road the next morning by 6a to get back home.
All in all, it was a great weekend with the boys but the highlight of the trip was hunting down the mascots to take pictures with them. As the closest interaction you can get to a team, mascots can bring a good portion of life into live sports. Naturally we just had to see how many we could find. Mascots can bring life to the crowd when the team might be down or take the arena to the next level during an intense game. Regardless, they deserve more credit than some might give them. Stay tuned as we continue on more adventures with the VG crew.
Stanley C Panther
Mick E Moose
Vegas Golden Knight
Sparky the Dragon
Future Mascots to be found: