National Hockey League honors heroes, victims of Vegas shooting

Ross Houston
October 13, 2017

"We are Vegas Strong", said Engelland.

In a further tribute, the sideboards in T-Mobile Arena eschewed ads during the ceremony in favor of the message "Vegas strong". He hopes to follow the Golden Knights in addition to his Maple Leafs. Of course, I never could have predicted that when the game finally arrived, it would come just nine days after a tragedy like the one this town experienced on October 1.

The first day of hockey in Las Vegas wasn't really about hockey at all.

Less than two km south of the site of the Las Vegas shooting, the Golden Knights played their first-ever home game on Tuesday night.

With the win, the Knights became the first expansion team to start 3-0 and they now sit alone on top of the Pacific Division to open their seven-game homestand.

The explanation is that I love sports, don't have a hockey team, and visit Las Vegas enough to apparently pass the test at the Golden Knights adoption center.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the game "shows what a major league, professional sports team can mean to a community in terms of bringing people together, uniting them, helping them heal from a tragedy and demonstrating the power of distraction when everybody comes together". They're already the talk of the league thanks to their dramatic victories, and their plucky spirit that has made them feel like a living, breathing NHL team in record time.

That may provide a little extra energy as the Knights look to sweep the home-and-home series with the Arizona Coyotes after they defeated them 2-1 in overtime Saturday at Gila River Arena. But while it is an important moment for the expansion team, hockey will take a back seat for an emotional pre-game ceremony and the players have something more meaningful to play for. But a fan festival was cancelled, and numerous high-profile festivities scheduled for the opener have been delayed until the Golden Knights' second home game on Friday, when the Detroit Red Wings visit.

For coach Gerard Gallant, the challenge Tuesday is to keep the players' focus on what happens on the ice.

Engelland doesn't score many of them.

It didn't take long for them to deliver. It was the least we could do for those people that went through that.

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