Vegas Golden Knights

If you follow me on any social network you’ll know I’m sort of obsessed with the Golden Knights. I mean sports teams are sports teams and they are all businesses, just so you understand that I know that. I might be more obsessed with the team for what it means to my city than the team itself.

For you to be able to understand what I’m talking about, you need to travel back in time with me to 1297… just kidding but that was a baller year… 2016, June 22, 2016 to be exact. That was the day that Vegas was officially awarded an NHL franchise. This was a huge deal because this was the first of the big four, National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Hockey League (NHL), or National Football League (NFL), to come to Vegas. Not only would they be coming to Vegas, they would actually be Vegas born, meaning they wouldn’t be a team moving here. So when you see the hashtag #VegasBorn that means something to us. The Vegas Golden Knights are the only team in Las Vegas that uses the moniker Vegas instead of Las Vegas. This is very intentional, people who live in Vegas rarely say Las Vegas when referring to the city so this lets you know the Golden Knights are from Vegas. The Raiders, the A’s (if they come), and the Aces all use Las Vegas.

As an aside, Vegas born is a play off of Nevada being known as the Battle Born State. Nevada was admitted as a state in 1864 during the Civil War, hence it was born during the battle. As an aside, aside Nevada has the best state song, and no your state doesn’t have a better state song. Here is Home Means Nevada performed by The Killers.

I’m not Vegas born, I’m from Missouri originally but both of my kids are Vegas born. I have been in Vegas for almost 25 years though so when I used my city above, I meant it. There are all kinds of jokes when you live in Vegas about being a native after a few years because it has been a transient city for so long. As a largely transient city, Vegas has never really been unified. We will get back to that later. While not being Vegas born, I consider myself a native. That’s how Vegas works, I don’t make the rules.

Back to the story, the Golden Knights got a name and logo in November of 2016. I’m biased but I think it’s a beautiful logo. I love the helmet logo and the gold (what says Vegas more than gold) color and how the V for Vegas is incorporated into the negative space of the helmet. The Golden Knights would start playing in the 2017 season so we need to fast forward to then. The opening game was scheduled for October 10, 2017 against the Arizona Coyotes.

Unfortunately on 1 October, Stephen Paddock committed the worst mass shooting in US history. He fired more than 1,000 rounds from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino into a crowd of people attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival. At the time, 58 people were killed, they have since raised the total to 60, and 400+ were injured.

I work in retail, and have since I was 16. I was a General Manager for a national retail chain. I had a full size truck at the time. On October 2, the city absolutely galvanized around each other. The lines to give blood were so long they had to start making appointments but the lines were still long. We donated pallets of water and food. Since I had a truck I put a pallet of water in my truck and drove all over the valley dropping it off at blood centers and hospitals. They even opened the convention center (which is huge) for an impromptu blood center. I went there a few days later and all the Golden Knights were there giving blood and talking to people. I had a conversation with Shea Theodore and Nate Schmidt about hockey and Vegas. The whole team was there with the coaches. They weren’t just there though, they were everywhere during that entire season.

Then nine days later, on October 10, the first game in Golden Knights history was played. The city was somber but the Golden Knights were exactly what we needed at the exact time we needed them. During a 15-minute pregame ceremony, a 58-second moment of silence honored the 58 people killed in the shooting. Defensemen Deryk Engelland, who has lived in Vegas since 2003, gave an amazing speech. It was short and succinct. It was what we needed. It was perfect at the time and I’m crying while typing this. Vegas’s coach Gerard Gallant told his team that would be the most important game they ever played and it was. It made a group of transients, a group of misfits, a city. That season was a complete fairy tale with the Golden Knights making it to the Stanley Cup Finals before succumbing to the Washington Capitals. We truly became Vegas Strong, together. And we still are.

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