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The Nevada Independent

Vegas Golden Knights will help run youth hockey program at North Las Vegas ice rinks

A family-oriented athletic complex, retail stores and housing projects are being built where the Texas Station and Fiesta Rancho casinos once stood.
Naoka Foreman
Naoka Foreman

In a partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights and developer Agora Realty, North Las Vegas officials will launch a youth hockey program next month at the two preserved ice rinks where the Fiesta Rancho hotel and casino once stood. 

It’s part of the redevelopment of the 73-acre site that also formerly housed the Texas Station casino and that city officials now call Hylo Park. Red Rock Resorts never reopened the casinos after closing them during the pandemic shutdown; it demolished them rather than selling the sites to a competitor.

The entire site — which could come online as soon as the second quarter of next year — is being redeveloped to include shopping, entertainment, commercial space and residential housing. 

The two ice rinks and other sports programming buildings — along with shops, restaurants and public spaces — will make up a “family-oriented athletic complex” called Champion Square. 

“For the first time in our city's history, a professional sports team is bringing their expertise and their resources to our youth right here in North Las Vegas,” Mayor Pamela Goynes-Brown said at a press conference Wednesday. “It's just not any sports team. It's the Stanley Cup champions.”

The Knights’ franchise will manage the ice arena and programming that’s already in motion at locations in Summerlin and Henderson, where youth hockey packages start at $145 for an eight-week session that includes learning skills such as skating, stickhandling, shooting and passing.

According to a 2021 American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in the ZIP code where Hylo Park is located is nearly $65,000 a year, compared with $66,000 for Nevada overall.

Darren Eliot, the Vegas Golden Knights’ senior vice president of hockey programming and facility operations, said he’s led youth programs for the past 30 years with hockey teams such as the L.A. Kings, Anaheim Ducks and Atlanta Thrashers. Eliot said his goal for youth programming is to get hockey programs into “communities that our sport isn't really known for.”

“[The plan] was to make sure that the existing rink and kids who are playing there now aren't displaced, that the facility doesn't close up, that we keep it open and operational and put some [tender love and care] into it,” said Eliot. “And to make sure that ice rink stays up until the brand-new beautiful facilities are completed.”

When asked about affordability, Eliot said the Knights will help families obtain scholarships to cover a one-time payment of more than $100 to obtain skates and gear.

North Las Vegas City Manager Ryann Juden said city leaders have gotten good at working with the private sector, comparing the relationship to peanut butter and jelly. 

He said that they took into consideration the needs of residents in the area by taking inventory of the site’s assets before the demolition of both casinos, which resulted in the decision to preserve the ice rinks and a parking garage.

“Stations basically said, ‘We're not coming back, we're going to basically level off the site. Do you have any thoughts on that?’” Juden said. “We said wait, hold on.”


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