Knowing Nevada: Flying Fish and Hockey in Reno
Every barber shop has an ambiance to it, including Last Chance Barber Shop in Reno, where the history of hockey in northern Nevada is on full display.
Barber Ken Pierson has been cutting hair for five decades, but is best known for his affiliation with the Reno Renegades and Reno Rage, the city's minor league hockey teams of the 1990s.
"I decided to do something traditional and unusual," says Pierson. "The very first game, everybody stood up, we scored a goal, and I had a fish underneath my seat and they're cheering, so what better opportunity to chuck it out there on the ice?"
The "Troutman" was born. From the first game on, Pierson threw a fish on the ice after the first Reno goal of every game.
"I couldn't go out anywhere without people knowing me," says Pierson. "They would call me fish man, trout man, fish face, all kinds of names."
It's been 20 years since the fish hit the ice in Reno, but that could be changing soon.
The Reno Puck Club, a group of private investors, wants to bring hockey back to Reno by the fall of 2018.
They want the team to play inside the downtown Reno Events Center and will put nearly $6 million in renovations into the building.
The city of Reno owns the building, and Revitalization Manager Bill Dunne said the city is on board.
"We have a facility in the downtown Event Center that is under-performing," says Dunne. "We are moving away from gaming as being the largest generator of tourism in downtown and we are looking for other opportunities."
The next question is, Will it work?
The Reno Renegades (named the Rage in the final season) lasted three seasons through 1998, and none of the three previous teams, dating back to the Reno Aces of the early 1970s, lasted longer than two seasons.
The Reno Puck Club wants a 10-year minimum commitment for the next team in northern Nevada.
Club officials will go back to the Reno City Council this spring with specifics of how the money will be spent.
Once approved by the city, the club needs approval from the RSCVA, which runs the Reno Events Center.