SAN ANTONIO – The Alamo City is losing another sports team to Las Vegas.
According to a press release from Spurs Sports & Entertainment, the Vegas Golden Knights purchased the American Hockey League’s San Antonio Rampage. The longest existing hockey team in San Antonio history is currently away on the annual Rodeo Road Trip and have only 12 more games in the AT&T Center before they are relocated to Sin City, pending approval of the AHL’s Board of Governors.
“We are extremely grateful to our staff, our fans and our partners who have supported the Rampage for the last 18 years,” said SS&E CEO RC Buford according to the press release. “While this was a difficult decision to make, we believe this move is best for the long-term success of Spurs Sports & Entertainment.”
The Rampage have been playing in San Antonio since the establishment of the AT&T Center, which was the SBC Center when it first opened. In fact, the Rampage were the first team to play a regular season game in the SBC Center on October 12, 2002.
This potential move for the Rampage to Las Vegas is the second team owned by Spurs Sports & Entertainment to leave San Antonio in recent years. Back in 2017, the NBA and WNBA approved of the sale of the San Antonio Stars which moved to Las Vegas for the 2018 season and renamed the Aces.
“It’s been a goal of the Vegas Golden Knights to have our AHL team located in our market since our team’s inception,” said Vegas Golden Knights President of Hockey Operations George McPhee according to a team press release. “We are now closer to realizing this goal than we have ever been before. Last season, more than 87% of all NHL players were graduates of the AHL. Local fans will be able to track Golden Knights prospects as they progress through our system, advance to the AHL and look to reach their potential as NHL players. This move will effectively centralize our hockey operations and streamline our processes in terms of player development, scouting, transfers and staffing.”
The Vegas Golden Knights have a new ice center under construction in Henderson, Nevada which would be the team headquarters for the Rampage once they move.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg gave KSAT 12 the following statement this afternoon:
“It is disappointing for San Antonians to learn the Rampage franchise has been bought by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. The purchase shows great value was added to the team during its time in San Antonio. But hockey - just like professional sports in general - is a long game in San Antonio. Our future is bright, and the foundation that the Rampage built in SA is not going away. “
The Rampage first home game after the Rodeo Road Trip will be Friday, February 28 against the Grand Rapids Griffins. Their final regular season home game will be Saturday, April 11 against the Texas Stars.
Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 Sports for over 16 years and is an award-winning sports producer. To submit story ideas, email firstname.lastname@example.org