As It Happens

Why this Winnipeg Jets fan bet on a Las Vegas Golden Knights Stanley Cup win

Shortly after relocating to Las Vegas from Winnipeg, Shannon Yelland placed a $20 bet on the NHL's newest franchise clinching the Stanley Cup — a bet with the potential to really pay off.

'I decided to put my faith into the new team,' says Shannon Yelland, on her October wager

Shannon Yelland, a former Winnipegger living in Las Vegas, placed $20 bets on both the Jets and Golden Knights winning the Stanley Cup back in October. She stands to win $4,000 if Vegas wins it all. (Bartley Kives/CBC)

The Las Vegas Golden Knights are three games away from doing what no expansion team has ever done: winning the Stanley Cup in their first season as a franchise. 

And while that would be great for Vegas fans, of course, it would be bad news for local bookmakers, who stand to lose millions if the home team wins after giving the team long odds at the start of the season. 

Shannon Yelland bet on the team in October. Originally from Winnipeg, she spoke with As it Happens host Carol Off from Las Vegas, where she now lives.

Shannon, just how much did you bet on the Las Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup?

I actually only bet $20, but it's going back to October 8, when I decided to put my faith into the new team.

What were the odds that you got for your ticket?

It was 200 to one. If it was three days earlier, I think it was 400 to one.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury gives up a goal to Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, of Russia, during the second period in Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday, May 30, 2018, in Las Vegas. (John Locher/The Associated Press)

But why did you buy it? Why did you think that was a good idea?

Well, at that time I'd just moved down to the States. And hockey was new to Vegas, and I was like, "Wow! I really want a piece of hockey."

So I started to invest in hockey tickets. And then I started to get a real sense of community. And I was like, "You know what? I'm gonna place a bet on the Golden Knights," — as well as Winnipeg, where I was born and raised.

How much did you put on the Winnipeg Jets?

Twenty as well. The odds were still pretty long shot — it was 60 to one for the Winnipeg Jets. I was a little torn as to who I should be cheering for. It was a tough one for Round Three. I wanted them both to win, and I knew they both couldn't.

It must've been really exciting to be watching Winnipeg from down there. 

Yeah. And I went to the one of the games, with Winnipeg friends. They had their Winnipeg jerseys, and I decided to wear my Knights shirt. It was fun.

Shannon Yelland, a former Winnipegger living in Las Vegas, a $20 bet the Jets and on the Golden Knights winning the Stanley Cup back in October. She stands to win $4,000 if Vegas wins it all. (Bartley Kives/CBC)

What's it been like to be a hockey fan in Las Vegas? Even the bookies didn't think that hockey was going to take off.

Oh, yeah. And I really think the coming together — the tragic [mass shooting] of October 1st, that was around the time hockey was starting.

The hockey team really helped out the community right away — helping the victims, and volunteering services. 

It just snowballed. Everyone was going to the public ice skate in the practice arena, and that was kind of refreshing, because I'm used to ice skating growing up in Winnipeg.

And now wherever you go to pubs, you see hockey, hockey, hockey — where you used to see just baseball and football in Vegas.

Las Vegas bookmakers gave long odds to the Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup in their first year — a decision they may soon regret. (CBC Manitoba)

It's interesting you refer to the mass shooting in October. Someone has compared it to how the World Series following the 2013 Boston Marathon created the same kind of spirit in that city. 

Definitely, you don't know until you look back. It was so impactful.

So you lost your 20-buck bet on the Winnipeg Jets. How much do you stand to make on the Las Vegas Golden Knights, if they're successful?

If [Washington Capitals Left Wing Alexander] Ovechkin doesn't kill us with all the goals, $4,000.

I think this last round is going to go to six or seven. The Capitals are really good. We'll see.

What are you going to do with your winnings if you win?

I invested in a lot of hockey tickets this season. So I'll probably save a kitty for next season for hockey tickets.

Written by Julian Uzielli and Kevin Ball. Interview produced by Julian Uzielli. Q&A edited for length and clarity. 


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