The New York Knicks have Spike Lee. The Boston Red Sox have Ben Affleck and Stephen King. The New York Yankees have Billy Crystal. The Kentucky Wildcats have Ashley Judd. The Chicago Cubs have Eddie Vedder. The Vancouver Canucks even have Michael Buble.
So that raises the question, in one of the entertainment capitals of the world, who is going to step forward to become the Las Vegas NHL team’s celebrity super fan?
Vegas has the star power to match any city in North America, so the list of candidates is as long as the line of traffic when construction narrows Trop down to one lane. We have sports figures, singers, magicians, politicians and tons of good old-fashioned eccentric rich guys, so while the team doesn’t have a name yet, it can still have a celebrity mascot.
The prerequisites are simple. The super fan needs to be famous outside of hockey and regularly attend games, becoming a visible part of the fandom. He or she also needs to be loyal through the lean early seasons. And they have to represent the attitude of Las Vegas.
Who can check all those boxes and become our team’s Jack Nicholson? Some possible top choices:
When it comes to our homegrown heroes, no one has a higher approval rating than Harper. The reigning unanimous National League MVP is talented, passionate, stylish and just a little brash, which means he’s got the Vegas attitude down pat, and the locals love him for it. He’s also an avid supporter of the Vegas sports scene, as he can usually be spotted at a handful of UNLV basketball games each winter. He told Vegas Seven last spring that an NHL team would “thrive” here, and then expounded on his civic pride:
“I went to Las Vegas High School. Being able to come from a high school that’s named after the city is special. I love this place. It’s a working town and seeing people work hard, I want to work hard for them and be a good person on and off the field. I want to be that guy who’s from Las Vegas and people say, “They’ve got good people coming out of Las Vegas.”
I love coming back here in the offseason. The people in this town really take me under their wings and root for me and have a lot of pride for me. I love being able to say I’m from the 702.”
The timing is perfect, too, as most of the hockey season falls during baseball’s offseason, so Harper can be a regular presence. Get this guy some center ice tickets and let him lead the way for the first generation of Las Vegas hockey fans.