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.