Gage Quinney hadn’t been in his new home for more than a few hours and the Silver Knights forward had the finer points stored in his memory bank.
From the painting on the wall to the view from the lines of the concession stand, it didn’t take long for Quinney to soak up many of the little details about the Dollar Loan Center.
“I got it all figured out,” he said. “Even when you try to open the bench doors, they’re so new that you kind of have to give them an extra push. Everything here is just beautiful.
The Silver Knights got their first taste of the new arena in Henderson when they trained on Monday and came away impressed.
The American Hockey League team will practice there again on Tuesday, then travel to Bakersfield for two games before christening the building for hockey on Saturday night against the Condors.
“It’s been kind of a tease over the last two months with basketball events and the Knight Hawks playing,” defenseman Zack Hayes said. “We were able to take a tour just as they put the roof up, and they put up the picture of what it’s going to look like. To see this come to fruition is quite exciting.
The Silver Knights played at Orleans Arena in their first two seasons while the Dollar Loan Center was under construction.
The $84 million facility opened this month when it hosted the Big West Conference basketball tournaments, and the Knight Hawks of the Indoor Football League played their first two games home.
Seating capacity at Dollar Loan Center is 5,573 for Silver Knights games with room for nearly 500 more via standing-room sections.
Dollar Loan Center was introduced as a scaled-down version of T-Mobile Arena, and many of these features stood out to players.
Behind the scenes, there is a living room near the dressing room which includes a kitchen area. Once inside, the corners of the building are similar to the Golden Knights arena in the way they connect at an angle and hang above the ice. Additionally, there is a castle at one end of the arena.
“I think the way the building is laid out, the way the seating is around the rink, it’s going to create a huge buzz,” forward Ben Jones said.
One difference from Orleans Arena that the Silver Knights immediately noticed was the boards. While their former home was known for its quirky rebounds, the pucks weren’t jumping off the wall at Dollar Loan Center.
Assistant coach Jamie Heward is thankful he no longer has to walk across the ice to the locker room between periods.
“The Orleans had a few nooks and crannies that were different,” defender Brayden Pachal said. “All the games, wins and memories we had there were amazing. But this place will be the best facility in the AHL, so I can’t complain about that.
The Silver Knights trained in two sessions, with the defenders starting first. Hayes made sure he was first on the ice. A handful of forwards wouldn’t leave the ice after practice and had to be told to leave by the coaching staff.
The Silver Knights (25-25-4, 54 points) were swept in a two-game series at Tucson last weekend and have lost three in a row to fall even further out of the playoffs. With 10 of their last 14 games at home, they hope the atmosphere in the new arena will give them a boost.
“He has a sense of professional standard in the NHL,” Heward said. “The detail they put into it has been amazing. Just little things that are going to be ours.
Golden Knights forward William Carrier did not practice Monday and remains out with a lower-body injury, coach Pete DeBoer said.
Carrier did not play in the third period or overtime Saturday against Chicago. He has 18 points, one shy of his career high, in 58 games.
“We’re awaiting further reports,” DeBoer said, “but it doesn’t look good.”