In the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, the Vegas Golden Knights have helped the city heal.
The players posed for pictures, signed autographs with fans and gave 20 game ticket packages to surviving victims and first responders.
According to Sports Illustrated, defenseman Jason Garrison said, “For something so devastating to happen, so soon into this, you just have to give as much support as you can.”
While none of the players are originally from Vegas, they’re still sympathetic. Defenseman Deryk Engelland is all too familiar with tragic incidents.
According to Sports Illustrated, Engelland, who was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 2000, was exercising in the Devils’ practice facility on Sept. 11, 2001. On April 19, 2013, he was forced to remain in a Boston hotel as police searched the entire city to find the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing.
In addition to admirable efforts off the ice, the Vegas Golden Nights have had impressive success on the ice this season. The team is 6-1-0, which is the best start to an NHL team’s inaugural season since the 1917-18 Montreal Canadiens, according to the NHL.
As of Oct. 20, the Knights were 11th in the NHL in goals per game, with an average of 3.33. They’re also the third best team in the league in faceoff percentage, at 54.9 percent.
Vegas has enjoyed success thus far, and fans have shown their support. As of Oct. 20, the Golden Knights had the fourth best home attendance percentage in the NHL, according to ESPN.
In their emotional home opener on Oct. 10 against the Arizona Coyotes, the Golden Knights paid tribute to some of the first responders who helped victims during the shooting. Instead of displaying their sponsors’ logos around the boards like other teams, the phrase, “Vegas Strong” was printed all around the boards for the home opener.
Hockey fan and Las Vegas resident Andy Trudell told the Review Journal, “They’ve proved that it’s more than just a game. The simple fact that they took down the advertising on their home opener to convey a message of hope and recovery says a lot to the organization, and it says a lot to what the people of the city mean to the team.”
The Trudell family traveled to Arizona on Oct. 7 to watch the Golden Knights defeat the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 in overtime.
“We kind of were able to push past what went on, the bad stuff that was going on for the four or five days prior to it, let me kind of forget about it,” said Becca Trudell in the Review Journal article. “It was a perfect little vacation, and being (at the Fan Arena on Friday) night helped, too, with all the hockey.”
I love how the Golden Knights have handled this difficult experience with professionalism and compassion. The Golden Knights roster wasn’t created until the NHL Expansion Draft, which happened on June 21, 2017.
These players have only lived in Las Vegas for a few months, and they haven’t hesitated to make a lasting impact on the community. Even though sports teams can’t solve all the world’s problems, the Golden Knights are doing everything they can to bring comfort to the victims during this difficult time.