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The Vegas Golden Knights play their first NHL game Oct. 10, hosting the Arizona Coyotes.Jack Dempsey

The catchphrase for Canadian hockey fans this NHL season is Viva Las Vegas.

They are flocking to ticket reseller StubHub to buy tickets to the home opener and first NHL game of the Vegas Golden Knights. StubHub says 24 per cent of the sales for the expansion team's game so far were to Canadian customers. This is despite the fact the game, against the Arizona Coyotes, is on a Tuesday (Oct. 10).

This may answer one of the central questions leading up to the NHL's foray into Las Vegas, although the actual number of tickets sold is not available: Would tourists forsake time at the gambling tables and other shows on the famed Strip to watch hockey games? The Golden Knights are the No. 1 NHL team in terms of overall StubHub ticket sales headed into this season, not bad considering they have not played a regular-season game yet. They outsell the second-place New York Rangers by 96 per cent.

StubHub spokesman Cameron Papp said Tuesday the company "can't provide specific ticket numbers, we can only provide percentages." However, Papp said based on the percentages, there was an explosion in demand among Canadians for the Golden Knights' opening game. Usually, he said, the New York Rangers' home opener draws the most Canadians, but that is less than 5 per cent of the tickets sold by StubHub.

"Vegas obviously is a big destination market," Papp said. "It's a large destination market for Canadians anyway, because of the warm weather. Now that they have an NHL team, it's turning into one of those things where you go to Vegas, you see a Cirque du Soleil show, or Britney Spears or Celine Dion, and then go to the sports centre."

Fans from Ontario have bought most of the tickets sold to Canadians, making up 8 per cent of total sales. Alberta buyers are second at 6 per cent.

As of mid-afternoon Tuesday, the Coyotes-Knights game was not a sellout at the 17,500-seat T-Mobile Arena. While tickets were available through the Golden Knights' website, there did not appear to be more than several dozen available, ranging from $150 (U.S.) for standing room to a top price of $700.

There were more than 800 tickets available on StubHub as of Tuesday afternoon for the home opener, at prices ranging from $99 to $650. But as resales, those tickets were already counted toward the game's attendance.

Like most professional teams of late, the Knights appear to use what is known as "dynamic pricing." That is setting ticket prices according to perceived demand, with popular teams and games rating higher prices.

The number of Golden Knights season-ticket holders is not clear. Team owner Bob Foley announced sales were cut off after the team received deposits for 16,000 seats. It is not known how many people followed through with full payments, although judging by the relatively small number of single-game tickets available for the opener, it would appear most fans did.

Among Canadian NHL teams, the Toronto Maple Leafs have drawn the most action on StubHub, Papp said. Making the playoffs last season for the first time since 2013, with more improvement expected this season, brought a jump in demand for the Leafs.

"The Leafs are one of the teams that sells no matter what," Papp said. "Regardless of their record, they are always in our top-10 [NHL] teams heading into the season. They did make a jump this year."

The Leafs' demand is up 25 per cent from a year ago, and the team has moved to fourth place from sixth in sales, just behind the third-place Chicago Blackhawks. The Montreal Canadiens are the only other Canadian team in the top 10, at ninth.

There are still lots of tickets left for the Maple Leafs' only visit to Las Vegas this season, on New Year's Eve. There are tickets for sale for the 5 p.m. PT game at face value ($75 to $650) on the Golden Knights' website, as well as on StubHub. The StubHub tickets are selling between $100 and $450, which would indicate the best seats are not up for resale yet.

One interesting note is there appears to be a strong demand simply to see the Golden Knights play. There was just one ticket left on StubHub Tuesday afternoon for the Golden Knights' lone visit to play the Maple Leafs, on Nov. 6, at a price of $74 (Canadian).

Las Vegas' first major professional sports team is set to debut next month with the Golden Knights hockey team starting its first NHL season. AP caught up with the team and its fans at their first practice session, which was open to the public.

The Associated Press