We are a couple of weeks into the NHL season and it already has had plenty of ups, downs and surprises. One of the most pleasant and unexpected surprise has to be the newly formed Las Vegas Golden Knights. They are the only NHL team in history to win 6 out of its first 7 games in the very first year of existence. Expansion teams are just not supposed to do that. Despite such a hot start, a couple of goaltender injuries may unfortunately see this team regress to the mean. I say unfortunately, because regardless of whether you root for them or not, the Knights have certainly been Knightly both on and off the ice.
After the horrific mass shooting at Mandalay Bay, the Knights have already been the two sides of what great sports team should always be. The first being a fun, entertaining distraction from the hardships of everyday life or in some cases, the gruesomeness of one senseless act. The second side is as an example of leadership that not only includes being a role model for the young, but also helping to bring a city together. Think of the positive experience the “township” of Jurassic Park was during those Toronto Raptor playoff series. It certainly isn’t as traumatic an example as compared to what happened in the city that never sleeps, but you get the sense of how positive the sense of togetherness can be.
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) October 11, 2017
The Golden Knights endeared themselves with their new fan base by offering more than just a few token words of support. They took it a few steps further showing respect for the victims, first responders and to a city in need of something positive… and they did it with class.
The very first professional home game of any team is a gigantic occasion, not only for the city that is the host, but also for the entire league as everyone bears witness to the new kid on the block. It is a marketing sales rep wet dream as companies pay top dollar knowing full well a large audience is paying attention. But as people got settled in to the T-Mobile arena they would have noticed there were no advertisements on the boards. The Knights decided that earning all that marketing money wasn’t as important as displaying one simple, direct message.
— 18d.Media (@18dMedia) October 10, 2017
But they didn’t stop there. It was one thing for a team to identify with a city, to let the residents know that we are all as one. It is another thing however, to give proper respect to the real heroes. Those that risk their lives under dire circumstances to protect ours. Vegas showed its class again as they found a unique way of honouring those first responders. The MC would announce one of them as they walked onto the ice and then announce a Las Vegas Knight player to accompany them. A small gesture yes, but an endearing one nonetheless as they all stood on the ice during the anthem.
It was an emotional night for everyone and at times difficult. At one point they displayed the names of all the victims on the ice. It almost made me feel guilty that I was about to enjoy a hockey game when they, they won’t ever see another one again. It was a difficult step in the process, but a necessary one as being together helps with the grieving and the healing.
I am sure it also helped that it took only 2 minutes and 32 seconds for Tomas Nosek to score the Golden Knights first home goal. If that didn’t get the crowd going than scoring 4 goals in under 11 minutes certainly did! It was an incredible night for an organization’s first ever home game. It ended in a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes but will always be remembered for being far, far more than just a game.
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