In a development that absolutely nobody saw coming, the Vegas Golden Knights are among the best teams in hockey approaching the All-Star break of their inaugural season. As a result, the NHL's newest expansion franchise has grown quite popular among the locals in Las Vegas.
With their unprecedented immediate success, everybody wants to get their hands on Golden Knights merchandise and memorabilia. That includes autographs from players, which are apparently in extremely high-demand at the moment.
This week, the team instituted a new autograph policy that will dictate not only where fans can line up for signatures, but
also who can ask for them. If you're an adult, you're out of luck.
The new policy states that only fans aged 14 and under can receive autographs inside the team facilities, and are required to do so in a designated area by the player benches.
In addition to cutting down large groups of autograph-seeking fans in and around the facilities -- most notably the players' parking lot -- the new policy also aims to shut out adult hawkers who want to sell the signed memorabilia.
[Knights president Kerry] Bubolz said things were getting out of hand, especially with professional autograph collectors who were trying to hoard signatures of players and coaches.
"What I saw, honestly, I saw adults at times pushing kids out of the way, and that's just not how we're wired," he said. "On the exterior of the building we had to change that process too. Guys were stopping, as they always do, and it was creating a safety hazard. We saw kids running into the street and we just couldn't have an incident like that take place so we had to change that process as well."
Anyone who's been to a sporting event and witnessed an autograph-hawker in action knows just how ruthless and relentless they can be, so it's understandable that the Knights would want to cut down on that sort of presence. I would also imagine plenty of those "professionals" reside in Vegas, so it's not all that surprising that it's been a problem.
At the very least, having too many interested fans is a pretty good problem for the Golden Knights to have in their very first season.