The Vegas Golden Knights have been on a historic run that has landed them in the Stanley Cup Finals, and Colorado Rockies reliever Mike Dunn is enjoying the ride.
In a talk with Rox Pile on Monday, Dunn, a native of Farmington, N.M., says he was never a hockey fan, considering the state of New Mexico has never had a professional hockey team. When the Vegas Golden Knights were born into existence though, it gave Dunn another hobby and sport to love other than baseball.
When Dunn played in New York and Florida earlier in his Major League career, he said he would attend games from time to time, but it wasn’t until the creation of the Knights that he truly became a hockey fan. Dunn lives in Las Vegas during the offseason and is the proud owner of four seats to every Golden Knights home game.
"“In the offseason, we went to every game we could. When we were in town, I think we caught 20-22 somewhere in there. I had to sell off 16 to my friend when I had to leave for Spring Training.”"
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With 41 home games on every team’s schedule, Dunn estimates he may have attended even more than those 20 games. Needless to say, Golden Knights hockey now seems to be a part of the Dunn family. When asked if either of his sons have started playing the game, he said his 2-year-old thinks he’s a hockey player, but what the sport has really given him is a sport that his kids can enjoy other than baseball.
"“I’ve never really had a hockey team. I just enjoyed watching it and, once we got the Knights, I wanted to get season tickets and kind of expose my kids to something other than baseball and stuff. Now we got a team to cheer for and it’s all in.”"
Nothing displays Dunn’s love for the Knights more than the number of jerseys he owns (including the one hanging by his locker in the Colorado clubhouse). However, even with five or six jerseys, Dunn says he still isn’t sure who his favorite player on the squad is.
"“I’ve been to a lot of games and it’s a different atmosphere. Their pregame during the regular season, they have the map of the U.S. on the ice and all the teams coming to Vegas. They have the rock with the Excalibur coming out of the rock and stuff like that. They make a show out of everything and it’s a lot of fun. It’s an electric atmosphere. The whole community has been behind them. I think its great the way that they’re going and with the shooting last year and the start they had, the community just attached to them … everyone’s got their back now. It’s great when you just go home and it’s Knights gear everywhere, just non-stop, and that is something Vegas has never had before.”"
The Knights historic run has been one of the best stories in NHL history, and Dunn isn’t the only MLB player who is along for the ride. Las Vegas natives Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper are also huge Knights fans and, in Harper’s situation, the next couple of weeks might get a little tricky. Harper plays for the Washington Nationals and the Golden Knights are playing the Washington Capitals for the chance to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup. Even with the chance for his current city to hoist the cup, Harper is still all in on the Knights to be the first expansion team to ever win the championship in their inaugural season.
The Stanley Cup gets underway tonight in Las Vegas and the world will be watching with history on the line. With Dunn being a season ticket holder, don’t be surprised if we hear any screaming or shouting from the Rockies pen if a Stanley Cup game falls during the same time as the Rox play, such as tonight.
As for Dunn’s prediction of how the cup will shake out, there’s no doubt who the southpaw thinks will get the job done.
"“As much as I want it to go seven, just because it would be awesome, it would be really stressful for me… so I’m saying Knights in six.”"