By: Paul Hewson
Daniel Negreanu said it would happen, and so it came to pass: The NHL has expanded to Las Vegas. The Vegas Golden Knights will start playing in 2017-18 from the beautiful new T-Mobile Arena, and Negreanu's promotional efforts were a big part of the successful bid. He and his cohorts helped secure 13,200 season-ticket deposits before the application was put in last summer. The franchise was awarded in June, and the team unveiled its name, logo and colours this past Tuesday.
Negreanu told reporters he bought four of those season tickets for himself, plus another 12 that will be donated to the Arturo Cambeiro Elementary School. However, the Toronto native and Maple Leafs fan says he won't be part of the ownership group. Bill Foley is the lead figure with 85% ownership, and the Maloof family – the people who brought the Palms Casino Resort to Las Vegas – control the remaining 15%.
Even if Negreanu did own a part of the franchise, he probably wouldn't have had much say in the team's name. Foley, a Texas native who lived in Ottawa while his father was stationed there as a member of the US Air Force, wanted from day one to call the team the Black Knights – as in the Army Black Knights. Foley studied at West Point, and even called his consortium Black Knight Sports & Entertainment. But Foley couldn't get clearance on the name, so he came up with three similar options: Golden Knights, Silver Knights, and Desert Knights. “I'm just happy they didn't go with Desert Knights,” Negreanu tweeted after the official announcement.
While Negreanu gets ready to cheer on his new team, a fellow Torontonian is doing the rounds promoting a new autobiography with a poker-related twist. Robbie Robertson, former guitarist and singer/songwriter with The Band, has put together a memoir called Testimony, in which he admits to coming within inches of robbing a high-stakes poker game.
According to the story, bandmate Levon Helm wanted to pull off this robbery not long after the musicians (back when they were still The Hawks) had split with Ronnie Hawkins in 1964; money was scarce. They bought some guns, pulled socks over their heads – and discovered that the poker game had been called off. Just as well; the would-be thieves were concerned that Robertson's Canadian accent would give them away.