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Knights merchandise flying off shelves

Vegas Golden Knights merchandise is flying off the shelves, with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's jersey leading the way.

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Specific numbers weren't immediately available Tuesday, but the NHL says 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,'' Nirva Milord, the NHL's senior director of corporate communications, wrote in an email to The Canadian Press. ''Marc-Andre Fleury is tops among players in playoffs merch sales.''

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.

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 them immediate star power.

This random mix of journeymen, up-and-comers and castoffs will host the Jets in Game 3 of the Western Conference final Wednesday after teams split the first two games in Winnipeg.

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 colors.

Marvin Ryder, a marketing professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, points to a couple of reasons for strong sales: a lack of competition from other top sports leagues in Las Vegas; the readiness of hockey fans and youngsters to flock to new gear.

But where the franchise really delivered, Ryder said, was with its powerful logo coupled with an attractive color scheme.

''Whatever graphic identity team they hired, they knocked it right out of the park,'' Ryder told The Canadian Press.

It helps to have a winning team, too.

''Ultimately it's how the fans embrace it,'' Ryder said. ''In this case, I'm going to say it's more about 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 One.''

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