Vegas fans pack the house for Golden Knights practice ahead of Cup Final

Hockey Central's John Shannon joins Martine Gaillard to discuss Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. AP Photo/David Becker

On Monday, the Vegas Golden Knights will take the ice at T-Mobile Arena for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, beginning the final slate of games in what has been one of the most captivating seasons in hockey’s history. And when they do, you can bet that the stands will be packed full with raucous supporters of the grey and gold, with all manner of helmets, shields and signs likely to make an appearance.

While those watching from around the league have been swept up by the team’s quick ascent, none can match the passion shown by the club’s own fanbase. The Golden Knights faithful proved as much once again on Saturday, packing the team’s practice facility, City National Arena, to watch them tune up before their first meeting with the Washington Capitals.

So many fans showed up for the practice, the team had to put up signs explaining why they couldn’t enter the building. So onlookers waited outside, hoping to get a glimpse of their local heroes through the glass.

Things weren’t any less hyped inside the building — the players took to the ice to wild cheers from the packed stands, from fans who had showed up hours early to watch the Cup finalists’ on-ice session.

The city hasn’t been short on support for their NHL club since they came to town and began their push towards the championship series. The sights and sounds coming out of Vegas all season long have put the Golden Knights supporters on the map as one of the most passionate fanbases in the league. During their first playoff series back in April, the team’s fans made headlines again when they lined the streets for a wild send-off as the Golden Knights left for Los Angeles, up 2-0.

A few series later, it seems excitement in the desert is only growing.

Don’t think the Capitals’ fans are any less thrilled to see Alex Ovechkin and Co. begin their bid for the Cup, though. Fans similarly packed the team’s Kettler Capitals Iceplex, Washington’s practice facility, on Saturday morning, greeting the finalists with cheers of their own.

Suffice to say, emotions are running high heading into Monday’s Game 1, as one of the two cities is set to taste Stanley Cup championship glory for the first time.

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