For 21-year-old Las Vegas native Sam Armendariz, most of her best memories involve the Las Vegas Wranglers.
Armendariz met one of her best friends, a girl she considers a younger sister, in the stands.
“We ended up meeting up at one of games,” she said. “After every game, we’d just sit there and hang out and just became extremely close through hockey.”
It’s a similiar type of story for another one Armendariz’s close friends.
“Same way, at Ladies Night, we were sitting at the same table,” she said. “We ended up ignoring the player that was sitting with us and just ended up talking and hanging out and became best friends.”
She’s been involved with hockey, watching, playing and loving the sports her entire life.
“It’s been a huge bonding experience for both my parents and me,” she said.
(FOR MORE ON WHY THE WRANGLERS ARE MORE THAN A TEAM TO ARMENDARIZ, WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW)
The future of the Wranglers in Las Vegas has been up in the air for the past couple of weeks. Word came out on December 31 that the team’s contract with Orleans Arena would not be renewed for the 2014-15 season.
“The intial reaction was shocking,” Wranglers president Billy Johnson said.
The news hit fans like Armenndariz that hardest.
“I was devasted,” she said. “I would be heartbroken if we don’t have a team next season.”
That’s the worst-case scenario for fans. Johnson has said repeatedly that the team’s goal is to remain in Las Vegas.
“My town, my team has been more than just a slogan,” he said. “There’s no other option in our mind. Las Vegas is our home.”
Armendariz and thousands of other fans hope that home, at least the city, remains the same.
“I have no problem watching them at any venue,” Armendariz said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a big stadium or a small tent, as long as we get to see our boys play, I don’t think anyone really cares where it’s at.”
The uncertainty that Armendariz and other fans have been experiencing could end soon, with a decision on the future of the franchise expected this week.
STORY AND VIDEO BY BARRY WONG