Many of the millions of tourists that visit Las Vegas yearly are familiar with only The Strip and the Hoover Dam before they arrive.
That's the way I was when I moved from Alabama – that's the way Derek Carr was moving from California.
"I didn't know anything about Vegas before we got here," said Carr, addressing the media at minicamp Tuesday. "I just thought it was The Strip and that was it."
To a surprise for both of us, Las Vegas has way more to offer than just the stereotypical glitz and glam, crazy bachelor party stories and gambling.
This city of lights has lots of community, family – and hockey.
Derek Carr and the rest of the Las Vegas Raiders have gotten behind the Vegas Golden Knights during their impressive 2021 playoff run. During this pandemic riddled season, the Knights won a league-leading 40 regular-season games, opened attendance to full capacity on June 1, and recently defeated the Montreal Canadians in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup semifinals Monday night.
Carr and his two sons have attended several of their playoff games this season and have become huge fans in the process.
"My boys are huge hockey fans now, so I'm learning the rules as we go. But I've loved it," said Carr. "It's just fun to watch other people play at a high level and just to feel the city's energy. The support for our team has been really cool. I've gotten to know some of those players and just want to continue to support those guys.
"Our city has been great in doing that, so hopefully they can keep it up. They've been doing great."
"What I've learned is, it's a small community of people that really know each other and care about each other," Carr said. I'm sitting there at the game, I'm meeting people that work at this business, that saw me at this restaurant. And I know these people and I'm having conversations. I grew up in the same areas. It's been electric about all those people coming together and supporting one thing. It's really cool. Even during the bad stuff, like they are completely all for their team. They are happy to be there. It's been really cool."
Attending the Golden Knights' Game 1 victory against Montreal also gave Carr a chance to meet possibly the greatest living legend in Las Vegas history. That's right – Mr. Las Vegas himself.
"I met Wayne Newton, which was crazy," said Carr. "Couldn't believe it. But super nice guy. His wife, very nice. Wayne Newton, shout-out to you. It was nice to meet you."
"It's been really cool just seeing the city come together and I try to take that and imagine what 70,000 people would be like with laser shows and the music and all that. I'm sure our defense will be really excited to go hit some people with that kind of atmosphere.
"Now, for me, please be as quiet as a church mouse," joked Carr "Please be quiet, but when the defense is out there, it will be cool to see."
Allegiant Stadium packed with fans will be outstanding for sure, but in all seriousness, I'm trying to have a run-in with Wayne Newton in Allegiant Stadium. That man is a treasure.
Get an inside look at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center for the Silver and Black's first day of minicamp.