Las Vegas Thunder™ Hockey Apparel
Bring the boom back with throwback Las Vegas Thunder™ apparel! Our exclusive Vegas Thunder collection pays homage to this unforgettable IHL franchise that certainly struck the hockey world with ferocity. Check out all of our vibrant Las Vegas Thunder hockey shirts, hats, hoodies, and other commemorative merchandise below. And if you’re looking for their former hockey franchise neighbors, skate over to our Reno Rage collection!
Las Vegas Thunder™ History
presented by Vintage Ice Hockey
Who were the Las Vegas Thunder?
The Thunder joined the Vegas Strip and the IHL in 1993, playing at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center. The team was successful on the ice, making the playoffs five of their six seasons in the desert. They were also known for making big name splashes when it came to players, picking up NHL holdouts and other big names along the way. They signed Alexei Yashin during the 1994 lockout, Petr Nedved and Curtis Joseph during their holdouts, and other popular names like Manon Rheaume and Brent Gretzky. Over the years they were coaches by some big name former pros as well, as each Butch Going and Bob Bourne spent a year in charge.
Off the ice, the team's mascot was Boom Boom, a really angry looking hockey playing polar bear who wield a hockey stick and a lightning bolt, which makes for a super 90s sports logo. The team was successful in Vegas, but ultimately were unable to renew their lease when it ran out in 1999 and folded as there were no viable alternatives.
The Southern Louisiana Rivalry
The Louisiana IceGators and New Orleans Brass were also prominent hockey teams during this time in Southern Louisiana. The IceGators, Brass, and Kingfish had an intense rivalry that each team profited from. With hockey being so popular during this time, the rivalry between the three teams drew a lot of fans to games. When the Kingfish first moved into Baton Rouge, the were drawing around 6,000 fans per game. The IceGators drew around 11,000 fans per game in their prime.
Despite their great success in the ‘90s, all three franchises suffered huge profit losses during the ‘00s. By their last season, the Kingfish only averaged about 1,700 fans in attendance, and the IceGators’ attendance fell to around 5,000. The Brass were forced out of business after they lost their lease at New Orleans Arena when the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets came to town in 2002.
With attendance and profits steadily decreasing over the seven years the Kingfish had been in operation, ownership announced they would suspend operations for the franchise to evaluate their options. Ultimately, they decided to sell and the team was moved to British Columbia, Canada where they played seven more seasons before folding completely.
The Kingfish Legacy
Notable Kingfish alums include Alexandre Burrows, Cam Brown, Bryon Richardson, John Hedberg, and Shane Hnidy. To this day, the Kingfish’s seven seasons remain the only time New Orleans every hosted a professional hockey team.
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