It remains to be seen whether the Vegas Golden Knights make another deep playoff run this spring, but about 20 couples outside their arena Sunday pledged to support each other and the team through the good times and bad.
Couples in gray and gold pledged to shower each other with a “Fleury of kisses” when they renewed their vows at Knights-themed ceremonies outside T-Mobile Arena ahead of Game 3 between the Knights and the San Jose Sharks. Fans had the chance to reaffirm their love for their spouses (and favorite team) or tie the knot under the golden arch set up in Toshiba Plaza.
Cherri and Jim Canada, married for about 10 years, decided to renew their vows on a whim.
Jim, with a gold-dyed beard, and Cherri, with a gold sequin hat, hadn’t envisioned renewing their vows in the manner that they did — a man with an Elvis pompadour and a Golden Knights blazer administered the ceremony. But anything goes in Las Vegas, Cherri Canada said.
“No better place to do it (than) the playoffs,” she said.
At the sound of a goal horn, the couple kissed to seal their renewal.
Andy and Crystal Mensch renewed their vows, celebrating 20 years of marriage, Andy said.
Crystal wore a golden necklace and Golden Knights apparel, while Andy wore a Ryan Reaves jersey and a half-gold, half-black dyed beard.
“It’s a VGK wedding theme; who (could) resist?” Crystal said.
The only way to follow up last year’s Stanley Cup Final run is to win the whole this time, Andy said.
“We want the cup. We want the cup every year,” he said.
The renewal of vows wasn’t conventional, but neither was Laura and Mark Johnson’s wedding date about 20 years ago.
They got married at a local chapel’s drive-thru when the would-be minister who was supposed to preside over their wedding didn’t receive his minister’s license in time, Laura Johnson said.
The two had renewed their vows about seven years ago, but they couldn’t pass up the chance to do it again, she said.
“What better way to do it than celebrate 20 years and do it with the Golden Knights?” she said.
The Knights won, 6-3, in the first of what fans hope are many more home playoff games this season. The wedding renewals marked a new wrinkle in the parties on the Strip that began last year.
Inside the arena, the sellout crowd of more than 18,000 roared during the team’s first home playoff game since losing to the Washington Capitals in Game 5 of last year’s Stanley Cup Final.
They waved light-up sticks and rally towels before the puck dropped, and they had barely sat down before Mark Stone’s goal 16 seconds into the game brought them back to their feet. Some of them went home without their hats, as dozens of fans tossed them onto the ice following Stone’s third goal of the night.
They cheered big hits from forwards Ryan Reaves and William Carrier, chanted “Shame!” at the Sharks’ penalties and applauded big saves by goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
“It’s going to be like this every game,” said Michael Bronowitz, sitting in the arena’s lower bowl. He expects the Knights will take the series in six games. “There’s no love lost.”
It’ll be tough for San Jose to beat the Knights’ forecheck when they’re rolling all four lines, the 48-year-old Las Vegas man said.
Watching the Knights during their Game 2 win on Friday reminded Amy Smallwood of the way last year’s team played during the playoffs. She expects Vegas to make quick work of the Sharks.
“I think they found their groove after their first-game loss,” Smallwood said.
Returning to the Stanley Cup Final will be tougher than it was last year because the teams they might play would be better, she said.
“I expect them to go to the final again and to raise the cup, but we’ll see how it goes,” said Smallwood, her hair speckled with gold glitter. “I think it’ll be a tough fight.”
Among the sea of Knights jerseys outside the arena was a man holding an inflatable shark on the end of a fishing pole. It was a pool toy with red “blood” coming from its gills and X’s over its eyes.
“Sharks can’t survive in the desert,” said 37-year-old Tom Wright.
A San Jose Sharks fan wore a frown and posed next to the shark for a picture, then pet the pool toy.
“It was already dead when I got it,” Wright joked.
He expects the Knights will win the best-of-seven series in five on their way back to the Stanley Cup Final in a bit of redemption for falling short last year, he said.
“That cup was ours last year,” Wright said.