John L. Smith: Ice Hockey And Tonopah


AP Photo/John Locher

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, right, and Bill Foley pose for photographers during a news conference Wednesday, June 22, 2016, in Las Vegas. Bettman announced an expansion franchise to Las Vegas after the league's board of governors met in Las Vegas. Foley is the majority owner of the team.

John L. Smith wonders what the new Las Vegas ice hockey team should be named. He also wonders if the owners can pour ice that looks like a frozen cocktail - just to give it a Vegas feel.

He's also concerned that Nevada's prisons were just cited for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act for segregating prisoners with HIV. The prison says they just don't have the staff to take care of prisoners properly, and John is worried about that.

And three different ballot questions on solar? Won't that be confusing?

Yes, Tonopah. John thinks this is becoming a nice little place to stop, read a book and hang out.


On the NHL Team:

It is really a breakthrough for Las Vegas in a lot of ways. I'm not sold on whether it will be successful. We'll save that question for later.

It is fascinating for me to see this as a potential for Las Vegas and also for a breakthrough for sports betting associated with Las Vegas. A lot of folks see this as breaking dam that will lead to the legalization of sports betting... because if Las Vegas is acceptable to professional sports, if we're just like every other home town in America then what is so wrong about sports betting?

On 'ice' hockey in the desert Southwest:

Support comes from

The one way to sell this to Las Vegas is we have a lot of scotch and ice. There is a lot of booze on ice. We could call them the Margaritas and they could play in this wonderful green slush! And people would drink out of those three-foot-long glasses that you see the tourists toting up and down the Strip.

I'm thinking... you've got have some mottos for this team. You gotta have some monikers and so I'm thinking.. how about: Vegas ice hockey -- no ifs, ands or pucks -- much like those "Crazy Girls."

Instead of "Nudes on Ice," let's call it "Dudes on Ice." 

On the name for the team:

Someone is going to recommend the Aces and I'm going to say 'no.' That's usually the default team name - The Aces - or something to do with gambling. 

I don't know how you conjure the frozen north down here in the West. Phoenix became the Coyotes. Coyotes on ice. It is a jarring image.

Hockey in the United States has run into problems in areas especially in the West. It's not just because it's warm. The arenas are enclosed and you would think folks would be happy being a cool atmosphere. That is not the problem. The problem is in warm weather climates there's a heck of a lot more to do during the year. If you're stuck in Pittsburgh or in Calgary or you're stuck in the Great White North, there are only so many things to do outside. You've got to stay inside for sports during the winter.

On Bill Foley funding the NHL team:

Right now, this guy could run for governor and do very well. He has been the definition of tenacity. He's shown a lot of class. He has encouraged local involvement. They brought people on to sign on for season tickets early. 

He's done a lot of things right to stray off of that model will start to fracture the glowing image of it's potential. 

On HIV patients in Nevada prisons:

They are starting to look into issues and the reason why they're finding things is because at long last the bureaucrats are looking into the issues. The more they drill down, the more they're going to find that medical staffing, nursing, the availability of doctors in the system, where there are hundreds even thousands, of inmates/potential patients there isn't much medical care going on. 

I'm not surprised at all that this was found. What is heartening is that people are starting to look.

On Jon Ralston's departure from Vegas PBS:

I don't have the answers on the real reasons he left. I presume that there was more than one thing working there. What I would say is: First of all, the folks who think they've gotten rid of Jon Ralston from the community or from the state are sadly mistaken. This guy is irrepressible. He's already back. He's not gone anywhere. He's just not on PBS. 

On the solar power ballot questions:

Are they going to blur with potential voters that's what I'm starting to wonder. Bring Back Solar Alliance- they're basically rolling a referendum on rooftop net metering and getting things back to almost where they were before. 

There is the Las Vegas Sands sponsored Nevadans for Clean Energy Choices, which is trying to abolish the so-called monopoly that NV Energy enjoys. 

There is NV Energy sponsored Citizens for Solar and Energy Fairness, which is basically trying to, I believe, marginalize the rooftop solar business. 

On Tonopah:

My daughter and I, we travel through the state a lot and we love to go to Bishop, California. There in the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada. It is a beautiful places. The Mammoth Lakes area. 

We love to go through Tonopah. We always take another day to stay at Mizpah Hotel. We love the Pittman Cafe. The food is very, very good. The thing that is interesting about what's going on in Tonopah, Goldfield and some other places is - I know this is going to shock some folks who don't get out of Southern Nevada very much - but you can start to see businesses coming back.

There are new businesses springing up. They are small but it is fascinating to see this growth of the Nevada economy as it pulls out of the recession. A lot of places are being dusted off and people are trying to get back into their businesses. Some folks are there to start new businesses. 






John L. Smith, contributor 

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