SEVERE WX : Red Flag Warning - Heat Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Golden Knights' mission to heal through hockey

The Vegas Golden Knights may have failed to become 2018 Stanley Cup champions but they achieved something that will live forever in the hearts of Las Vegas.

Posted: Oct 2, 2018 7:24 AM
Updated: Oct 2, 2018 7:34 AM

It was just nine days after the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017.

Deryk Engelland, captain of the Vegas Golden Knights, was standing in a spotlight at T-Mobile Arena, addressing the sellout crowd. It was his team's first regular-season home game in its new city. The atmosphere was different than anyone could have or would have ever imagined.

"It's first game in the franchise in Vegas, right? So it's supposed to be a happy time, but no," Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury recalled.

"It was on everybody's mind. It was tough."

Engelland finished his remarks that night with this pledge: "To the families and friends of the victims, know that we'll do everything we can to help you and our city heal.

"We are Vegas Strong."

READ: Las Vegas hockey team retires No. 58 to honor concert victims

In Macbeth, Shakespeare suggested we give words to our sorrow. In Engelland's address, he tried eloquently to give words, apply some hope and healing to the unfathomable sorrow being felt in the city, especially by those most affected by the senseless tragedy.

His speech -- like the moment of silence requested at T-Mobile Arena -- was 58 seconds long, a second for all 58 souls lost in the massacre.

His promise, and by extension, his teammates' has no limits imposed by time; it is ongoing. What happened in the wake of that unspeakable violence, was transforming -- for the team and for Las Vegas.

From the depths of the despair that hung in the arena that opening night was a bond forged between this team and its new city that transcended sport and gave the NHL's latest franchise a mission that went far beyond wins and losses. The Vegas Golden Knights were playing now for their city. They played to heal.

"With October 1st, we all had to mature a little bit faster," Golden Knights forward Pierre Edouard Bellemare told CNN Sport.

"It's not about us, it's not about the team, not about salaries, not about stats. It was all about our strength to defend our town, because it is our town now."

Vegas centerman William Karlsson, who went from a previous high of nine goals to 43 -- the third best in the NHL last season -- added: "First of all it was pretty unbelievable that something like that could happen especially when you're there, too.

"It kind of made the whole team come together. I mean the whole city come together -- and they had a rally point in us, to come together at games, and I think that bond made us stronger. We had that connection with the city and the fans."

Vegas won that first game at T-Mobile Arena and eight of the next nine at home. The march was on to the most successful season by a true expansion franchise in NHL history -- it was a journey of Cinderella proportions that included most wins and road wins ever by a first-year franchise.

It also led straight to the Stanley Cup Final, all happening as the bond between team and city grew stronger.

Before Game Three of the final last June, CNN Sport asked George McPhee -- the Golden Knights general manager -- to look back on how the relationship between his team and the city of Las Vegas was shaped by their shared sense of profound loss.

READ: How NHL plans to grow in China ahead of 2022 Winter Olympics

Clearly moved by the memories, McPhee offered this: "The unfortunate events of October 1 changed things, and sometimes in the wake of tragedy, you know, something more beautiful happens.

"And a beautiful thing happened in Vegas, the way that community came together, the way this team came together -- as a team and for the city -- was a really remarkable thing.

"If you were close to it, it was really something to experience."

Engelland and his Golden Knights teammates lost their bid to become 2018 Stanley Cup champions, falling in five games to the Washington Capitals. But while they may have failed to win the right to lift the Cup, they achieved something that will live forever in the collective hearts of Las Vegas.

They lifted spirits in the city's darkest times. They helped to bring some light, bring some healing. They are champions.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 219755

Reported Deaths: 2858
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah41855618
Washington27838258
Marion24509333
Clackamas19964242
Lane14885174
Jackson12709156
Deschutes1056587
Umatilla958794
Linn627782
Yamhill507481
Klamath494479
Douglas451888
Polk431457
Josephine416975
Malheur366667
Benton347422
Jefferson249942
Coos231939
Columbia208732
Union169424
Wasco156131
Lincoln154422
Crook139924
Hood River126734
Morrow122917
Clatsop117610
Baker111517
Curry79112
Tillamook7605
Grant5637
Lake4868
Harney46011
Wallowa2396
Gilliam871
Sherman872
Wheeler441
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3966943

Reported Deaths: 64429
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles130334324691
Riverside3085464662
San Bernardino3067695240
San Diego2980023798
Orange2824265144
Santa Clara1234042099
Sacramento1157321781
Kern1132161425
Fresno1046391746
Alameda971211286
Ventura838691044
Contra Costa77708834
San Joaquin769151460
Stanislaus658931095
Tulare50409854
San Mateo44622588
Monterey44523528
San Francisco40544563
Solano36004263
Santa Barbara35741467
Merced33321485
Sonoma32880330
Imperial29164745
Placer25146307
Kings23765251
San Luis Obispo21970265
Madera17058249
Santa Cruz16616207
Marin14958239
Yolo14863215
Butte13235205
Shasta13043242
El Dorado11125120
Napa1044282
Sutter10203127
Yuba700450
San Benito628263
Tehama589266
Lassen588826
Nevada541675
Humboldt511453
Mendocino471052
Tuolumne453573
Lake423866
Amador387748
Siskiyou256640
Glenn246527
Colusa235718
Calaveras231658
Del Norte16688
Inyo147338
Mono13265
Plumas7726
Modoc5767
Mariposa5007
Trinity4676
Sierra1310
Alpine890
Unassigned660
Medford
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 82°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 52°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
82° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 82°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
82° wxIcon
Hi: 102° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 82°
Klamath Falls
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 79°
Drier, but still hot, on Monday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Health Watch: Sports Physicals

Image

Monday, August 2 morning weather

Image

Sunday, August 1st Weather

Image

Sunday, August 1st Weather

Image

Dick Fosbury and the 'Fosbury Flop'

Image

Saturday, July 31st Weather

Image

Health experts' covid vaccine recommendations for pregnant women

Image

Umpqua Bank Robbery Investigation

Image

Saturday, July 31st Weather

Image

Friday, July 30th Overnight Weather