The Wranglers Find Unique Place to Play - 8 News NOW

The Wranglers Find Unique Place to Play

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LAS VEGAS -- One of the closest things Las Vegas has to a big-name sports team almost had to skip town.

When the minor league hockey team the Las Vegas Wranglers could not renew their contract with the Orleans Arena, they went searching for a place to play and have a found a very different home at the Plaza Hotel and Casino downtown.

The new home puts the team closer to the best known tourist attractions in the Las Vegas valley including Fremont Street, which they will play five stories above.

"Doing something bold and unique and different suited our style, suited the city's style," Las Vegas Wranglers' President Billy Johnson said.

The structure the team will be in has been described as a tent, but team officials say it will be more like a building.

"Ice is frozen from the ground up and not from the sky down. So the cooling system is under the ice. I would use the word 'tent' loosely. It is a fabric structure. It is insulated. It has climate control. HVAC is in it. It's going to be a building more than it would be a tent," Johnson said.

The team president says the expected 3,500-seat facility, which is about 1,000 people fewer than the average attendance at games, will hold all of their die-hard fans and new ones.

"I think the secret to our success is that we always have been targeting locals, and if we catch some tourists because we happen to be downtown then so be it," Johnson said.

Even the locals, who live downtown but are not fans of hockey, say they would go to support a team that plays here.

"I live down here. I work down here, so that would be super-way convenient," downtown resident Daniel Harden said.

Downtowners love the way new attractions continue to pop up around them from the Container Park to the bars on Fremont Street.

"I come downtown all the time. I come at least once a week. We're big downtown fans. What Tony Hseih has done with downtown, we've been big fans. So why not give it a shot," Las Vegan Craig Bursky said.

One shot is all the team needs. The contract at the Plaza is for five years.

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