The Vegas Golden Knights brought more than hockey to the ice as they embarked on the 2023-24 season. Continuing their tradition for spectacle and entertainment, the team raised their championship banner in true Las Vegas style, replete with a 12-foot slot machine.
Captain Mark Stone signalled the start of the ceremony by pulling the lever of the enormous prop. The giant slot machine, in return, delivered three Stanley Cups in line before spitting out the championship banner like a victorious casino payout.
Yet, the slot machine was far from a computerised marvel. Its mechanism relied instead on an experienced crew of human hands. The illusion of a functioning slot machine was created with a trio of vertically-placed, 60-inch flat-screen televisions, displaying wheel animations. These graphics were not activated by Stone’s pull of the lever, but by a button controlled by the Golden Knights’ VP, Andrew Abrams, hiding in the Zamboni tunnel.
Adding to the spectacle, the slot machine’s sound effects emanated from the arena’s DJ, while a well-coordinated rigging crew raised the banner simulataneous to on-point cues from Tyler Ferraro, the team’s senior manager of entertainment experience.
This entire theatric showpiece was conceived by Abrams earlier in the year, amid the Knights’ playoff run. Washing dishes at home, he envisioned a way to make the championship celebration uniquely representative of the team’s Vegas home. The result, he ventured, was exciting and a true testament to the coordination and dedication of the entire team to creating memorable experiences.
This performance is not an anomaly for the Vegas Golden Knights. Since their NHL debut in 2017, they have kept the flavour of Vegas alive with grand pregame shows that rival stand-alone Vegas performances. Every home game kicks off with a detailed, spectacular performance sometimes enduring up to 10 minutes. The production features film clips, special effects, and climaxes with their very own golden knight heading onto the ice.
The credit of these grand performances goes to an entertainment team of 13, four skilled video editors and camera operators, three motion graphics designers, and approximately a hundred individuals managing the game-day lights, audio, and rigging.
Yet, fireworks were not limited to the ceremony alone. The Golden Knights went on to continue their streak of success by securing a resounding victory against the Seattle Kraken.
Despite being just seven seasons into their NHL journey, the Knights have already netted three division championships, two conference championships, and one coveted Stanley Cup title, making them a formidable force on and off the ice.