When Tragedy Strikes
The Vegas Golden Knights began their existence in the shadow of tragedy. Six nights before their inaugural season opener, the city of Las Vegas was struck by a man-made catastrophe that left wounds which will last forever. When terrible acts of violence occur, people will often fear the world around them. They will feel disconnected from the rest of the world. In all of the darkness, however, people will often find each other, and come together as victims to support one another. This is the case in Las Vegas, wherein the face of tragedy, the city has become closer in spite of their struggles. And although the Knights were new to Las Vegas, they knew they had to act in support of its residents. They did just this, and have become an important piece of the city in the process.
A Night to Remember
Following the deadly massacre on October 1st, the Golden Knights paid tribute to the victims prior to their home opener. With a speech from Deryk Engelland, a Vegas native, the Knights dedicated their first moments at home to the victims. The ceremony was a touching one and spoke to the hearts of those viewing, many of whom were personally touched by the tragedy. They proceeded to march first responders onto the ice and celebrate their sacrifices in front of the crowd. The team wanted to demonstrate their commitment to the city.
Among the first responders and the then unknown players during Engelland’s speech, were the names of each of the victims laid upon the ice. It was a touching moment for all involved. From the very beginning of their existence, the Knights showed they were willing to become an integral part of the local community. The emotional opening ceremony, however, was only the beginning of the Golden Knights homage to the city.
Knights to the Core
The Knights have become an integral part of the Las Vegas community since October. Along with the home opening ceremonies, the Knights visited victims of the tragedy in the days following the shooting. In partnership with their owner Bill Foley and the NHL, they donated $300,000 to the victims and first responders. This showing of good faith was the first real sign that the team was going to be something different. From that point forward, the team has been central to the identity of Las Vegas. The Golden Knights have become synonymous with the city, as much as entertainment and gambling. Their efforts to reach out to the community in their time of need did not go unnoticed. They went above and beyond the call of duty to support their new home in its time of need. For these actions, they will not soon be forgotten.
In Honour to the Fallen
In an effort of remembrance to the fallen, the Golden Knights took a last step of good faith prior to their last regular season home game. Hanging in the rafters of T-Mobile Arena, there is a banner donning the names of the 58 victims of the tragedy. Ending their regular season in the same fashion with which it began, they paid homage to the victims. The Knights chose to retire the number 58. For the rest of their history, no player shall ever wear the number that is still fresh in many residents’ minds. From now until the end of time, the Knights will play under their banner, and in remembrance of those that lost their lives in the terrible tragedy. They will play, always, in their honour.
Vegas Golden Knights Playoff Success
Three nights ago, the Vegas Golden Knights won the first game of their first ever Stanley Cup Final. It came in their inaugural season, at a time when nobody expected anything from them. But each player on that roster knows they are playing for something greater than themselves, or even their logo. They are playing for the city of Las Vegas, the one that welcomed them with open arms. The city understands that what they are seeing is not something that happens often. They are witnessing one of those special moments in time where everything clicks into place. They are witnessing a team that is playing for them.
With the horrors of late last year still fresh on their minds, the Las Vegas locals are closer than ever, rallying around something magical they can all confide within. And at T-Mobile Arena, less than a mile from the site of the terrible massacre, the Las Vegas Golden Knights rally around the people who hold them so dear. The Golden Knights have become one with their city. They are #VegasStrong.