Vegas Golden Knights’ Cody Eakin (21), Jonathan Marchessault (81) and Deryk Engelland (5) defend in front of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during Game 2 in the Western Conference Finals against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday. (Trevor Hagan/The Canadian Press)

Fleury tops Vegas Golden Knights merchandise flying off shelves

French Canadian goalie’s jersey leading the way in sales

The Vegas Golden Knights are proving to be as popular at the merchandise table as they are in Sin City.

The NHL expansion team has been a hot ticket all season at T-Mobile Arena and that has continued during the Golden Knights’ deep playoff run.

With goalie Marc-Andre Fleury’s jersey leading the way in sales, Golden Knights gear is also flying off the shelves.

Specific numbers weren’t immediately available but Nirva Milord, the NHL’s senior director of corporate communications, said that the team’s overall North American sales have been very strong.

“The Vegas Golden Knights are in the top five in merch sales all season,” she said Tuesday in an email. ”Marc-Andre Fleury is tops among players in playoffs merch sales.”

READ MORE: Stanley Cup playoff conference-finals predictions

Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup champion in Pittsburgh, was not protected by the Penguins in last year’s expansion draft. He has helped anchor the Golden Knights and gave the first-year squad some immediate star power.

The Vegas success story reads like a Hollywood script.

A random mix of journeymen, up-and-comers and castoffs quickly meshed as a team, delivered results on the ice, and provided one of the top storylines of the season.

Few hockey observers predicted that Vegas would roll through the campaign and topple the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks in the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Golden Knights will host the Jets in Game 3 of the Western Conference final on Wednesday after splitting the first two games of the best-of-seven series in Winnipeg.

Along the way, cash registers have been ringing with sales of hats, hoodies, sweatshirts, T-shirts and jerseys adorned with the knight helmet symbol and the team’s steel grey, black, gold and red colours.

Marvin Ryder, a marketing professor at McMaster University, feels there are several reasons for the strong merchandise sales, including the lack of competition from other top sport leagues in Las Vegas and the fact hockey fans and youngsters will flock to anything new when it comes to gear.

But where the franchise really delivered, Ryder said, was with the creation of a modern, powerful logo coupled with an attractive colour scheme.

“Whatever graphic identity team they hired, they knocked it right out of the park,” Ryder said from Hamilton.

It helps to have a winning hockey team too.

“Ultimately it’s how the fans embrace it,” Ryder said. “In this case, I’m going to say it’s more about (being) lucky. You had all the pieces but they got them right the very first day. That’s the unusual part of the story. Normally it takes longer for the teams to find that combination of performance and the right-looking logo that people are proud to wear.

“They got it right from Day 1.”

Last month, the NHL reported that Fleury was fourth in jersey sales behind Toronto’s Auston Matthews, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid.

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

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