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SportsPulse: USA TODAY’s hockey insider Kevin Allen details the story lines that you should pay attention to this season.
USA TODAY Sports

Hockey will be a draw, at least this season. 

 

The NHL expansion Vegas Golden Knights have about double the ticket sales of the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks, respectively, and the Golden Knights dominate the top 10 list of most in-demand games, according to statistics provided to USA TODAY Sports by StubHub. 

“It’s somewhat of a surprise,” StubHub spokesperson Cameron Papp told USA TODAY Sports. “We expected them to be popular, but not No. 1 heading into the season. There was a bit of skepticism about the Golden Knights because of the market they are in, but so far so good. Clearly, by the numbers, there’s a lot of demand.”     

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The Golden Knights have seven of the 10 best-selling tickets on StubHub entering the NHL season, which begins Oct. 4. The top game in terms of demand and average ticket price ($265) is currently Minnesota Wild vs. Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 5, the first regular season game played at the Wings’ new home, Little Caesars Arena.

The most in-demand game for the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena is a clash against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 14. No. 2 is a tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 24.

The first home game of the Golden Knights’ inaugural season is Oct. 10, which is considered the third most in-demand game for Vegas. Seats for that game are averaging $208. 

Papp said the statistics backed up what many had speculated about a professional sports team in Las Vegas: tourism will fuel ticket sales. 

“The Golden Knights are going to become one of those events you want to see in Las Vegas, like going to a Cirque du Soleil show,” Papp said.

StubHub has processed orders for Golden Knights home games from all 50 states and ranks Vegas third among NHL teams (behind the Rangers and Los Angeles Kings) with international ticket purchases. Nearly 40% of the ticket purchases for Golden Knights’ home games have been from California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York — about double of tickets purchased by those who reside in Las Vegas. 

“The Golden Knights need to build a local following for long, sustainable growth,” Papp said. “They are still in the honeymoon period. We will have to wait and see if it…