The Vegas Golden Knights weren’t the only ones inside T-Mobile Arena celebrating their overtime victory over the Minnesota Wild Monday night.
The Fortress welcomed 2,605 hockey fans back for the first time in 363 days. The Knights also announced they are selling tickets for fans to attend games at 15 percent capacity for the remainder of March.
VegasNews.com went to the arena to talk to fans and witness this historic moment.
“I’ve been to almost every Knights game so it’s great to be back in the Fortress,” said Vegas local and season ticket holder Davis Payton.
With the exception of a smaller, mask-wearing crowd, the outside of T-Mobile Arena felt just as normal as any other home game night in the past with hockey fans wearing Knights gear anxiously waiting to enter T-Mobile.
The opportunity to finally attend a Knights game in-person was refreshing for many fans.
“[I’m excited] to see the Knights in live-action,” said Donald Libke. “It sucks watching it on TV.”
The last time Knights fans cheered the team on in Vegas was in February in a shutout victory against the New Jersey Devils.
The team’s decision to welcome fans again falls in line with other prominent Vegas sporting and entertainment events carrying on with limited in-person attendance following Governor Steve Sisolak’s reopening plan, including NASCAR Weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 5-7.
The arena currently requires fans to follow COVID safety guidelines, including mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing.
The Knights definitely put on a show for their returning fans. Minnesota — who currently ranks third in the Western Division — at one point led the game 4-2 after scoring four goals in the second period. The Knights made up for a two-point deficit in the third period, with Alex Tuch scoring the tying goal with 42 seconds left in regulation.
Left winger Max Pacioretty scored the winning goal in overtime after team captain Mark Stone gave him his fifth primary assist of the game.
Pacioretty said that having the fans back in the Fortress helped push the team to victory.
“We get energy and build off that energy from the fans,” Pacioretty said in a post-game press conference. “You can’t really explain it, but I think we all had that feeling that we knew we were going to come back in that game”.
Knights Head Coach Pete DeBoer also acknowledged his excitement to have fans in the arena again.
“What a difference having them in the building makes,” DeBoer said after the game. “I think our players did a great job of acknowledging them prior to and after the game.”
The Knights are welcoming fans once again tonight in another home game against the Wild tonight at 7 pm.
Please note that COVID protocols and game availability may change due to the ongoing pandemic.
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