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Las Vegas NHL owner says he is close to selecting team's name

Owner Bill Foley hinted that the team's name would have a reference to the Black Knights, the mascot of his alma mater, West Point.

UPDATE: Chris Creamer of is reporting that Foley's company has registered domain names related to three possible name choices: Reds Hawks, Desert Hawks and Nighthawks. He also reports that the city name could be either Vegas or Las Vegas based on the domain names.

The owner of the NHL’s Las Vegas expansion team revealed that he is close to a decision on the franchise’s name. Bill Foley told Sportsbook Radio on Tuesday that the early favorite has been culled from the four-name list of finalists.

“It’s not Black Knights,” Foley said. “That’s been vetted, and there were too many objections from my alma mater [West Point] and then [we got] some push-back from some other people, so we’ve put that one aside. But the name is going to have ... Knights somewhere in some fashion, some way. Or, there’s one particular animal, a bird, that we have available to us that we might use.”

Hmmm ... Night Owls, perhaps?

Whichever way he goes, a decision appears imminent.

“We have a video conference [Wednesday] with the NHL and adidas,” Foley said. “So I should have a good feeling of what the name’s going to be [then].”

Foley says he’s relying heavily on input from adidas for both the team name and the logo design, adding that’d he like everything to be finalized ahead of the two NHL exhibition games slated for T-Mobile Arena in early October.

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Once the announcement is made, Foley promises to have team gear such as hats and T-shirts (but not jerseys) ready for sale at the team store at T-Mobile Arena along with team shops at the MGM Grand, Bellagio, Monte Carlo and New York New York hotels as well as at McCarran Airport.

Foley also announced the hiring of Dave Prior as the team’s director of goaltending and NHL goaltending coach.

Prior served as goalie coach for the Washington Capitals under Las Vegas GM George McPhee from 1997–2014. Before joining the Caps, Prior worked as a goaltending coach for the Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets and spent seven years working with the NHL Central Scouting Bureau.

He’s shown a knack for identifying young goalie talent, and was behind the drafting of Braden Holtby, Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth, among others in Washington. He’s also regarded as one of the elder statesmen in the coaching field, but as has been pointed out in the past, several of his former charges showed greater growth under his replacements than they did under Prior. Either way, his ability to identify the best keepers available in the expansion draft and early amateur drafts will be critical to the team’s immediate and future success.

Prior becomes the third former Washington staffer to join McPhee in the desert after Katy Boettinger (director of hockey operations) and Wil Nichol (director of player development).