The night the Vegas Golden Knights revealed their name and logo to the thousands gathered outside T-Mobile Arena, I watched rabid fans gather up every piece of merchandise available, even if it meant waiting in a two-hour line to get inside the team store.
I was rabid too. I admit it. But all I wanted to know was, “How long until we see the Oyo Sports Golden Knights minifigures?”
With the team picking sixth in June’s NHL Expansion Draft, I’m starting to get a little anxious. There’s a just-released LeBron James minifigure on my desk next to a retired Alex Rodriguez—both of them could use some Golden Knights company.
Let me back up a minute, because you’re probably asking, “What’s an Oyo?”
Picture your favorite athlete shrunk down to a plastic toy less than 2 inches tall, about the size of a LEGO minifigure, but with more points of articulation.
That’s toy speak, by the way, for better movement. I love LEGO Batman, but all he can do is swing his arms and legs back and forth. My Oyo A-Rod can pose like he’s in a batting stance, or like he just hit No. 697 out to right field at Yankee Stadium.
Oyo Sports Toys rolled out its first line of MLB minifigures in 2011, and has since secured licensing deals to produce toys based on NFL, NBA and NHL players.
Each generation of minifigure has improved upon the last, with the athletes’ likenesses getting more and more detailed. If a player is recognized for his beard and eye black, such as Las Vegas’ Bryce Harper, those accents are reflected in the figure.
As for the Golden Knights, Oyo has already released a buildable Zamboni and an “Ultimate Fan” figure sporting the team’s logo. The players will likely debut in the summer.
“We shouldn’t have to wait until the season begins [to create them],” says president of sales Daryl McKay. “As soon as they release the Golden Knights uniforms and roster publicly, we’ll be right behind with product.”
Because the minifigures are produced at Oyo’s Massachusetts headquarters, they can be created and shipped incredibly fast—sometimes in as little as two weeks—in the event a player signs, is traded or, in Las Vegas’ case, drafted to fill out the Golden Knights’ 23-man roster.
“We often find ourselves adding players to team rosters that we didn’t originally produce,” McKay says.
Although it’s too soon to know, that could mean some future Golden Knights players might be getting their first Oyo figures ever.
While fans wait for the draft, McKay and his team are at work designing new buildable hockey rinks for their NHL line, and the company just debuted its “OYO Me” series, which allows fans to customize their own figures.
That means I could have a Golden Knights Oyo with my name on the jersey. Finally. When I get mine, I’m putting it next to A-Rod.
The 2017 NHL Expansion Draft will take place during the NHL Awards on June 21 at T-Mobile Arena.