Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Vegas home opener a sombre tribute to October 1 victims, first responders

Vegas home opener a sombre tribute to October 1 victims, first responders

It's safe to say the Vegas Golden Knights are performing better than expected to start the 2017-18 season.

The Vegas Golden Knights ensured that their first game at T-Mobile Arena would be as much about the victims of the recent mass shooting near Mandalay Bay as it would the start of hockey in a new city for the NHL.

Nobody's mind was entirely on hockey during what should have been a celebratory night and a milestone for Las Vegas, which finally has its first franchise in the major North American pro sports.

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.

The Knights face the Coyotes again this evening and with any luck will be the first expansion team to win its first three games. As the names of those victims appeared upon the ice during 58 seconds of silence, it sent shivers down my spine. This is the best start ever from an National Hockey League expansion team.

The players still walked a gold carpet into the arena before the game, cheered on by early arriving fans lining the walkway.

"Like all of you, I'm proud to call Las Vegas home", Engelland said before the game.

Neal's goal at 3:46 of overtime Saturday night gave the Golden Knights a 2-1 victory at the Arizona Coyotes, one night after Neal scored both goals in a 2-1 victory in Dallas.

Like us, they'll need to remain, "Vegas Strong".

"I really feel we have a role to play in this and I think our players have really embraced that and it helps to galvanize our players with this city and our fans and shows what kind of people they are".

If the Knights didn't feel a strong connection to Las Vegas before October 1-and who could blame them if they didn't? But they scrapped much of it, including a fan fest and their usual pregame ritual (which will resume for future home games), after Stephen Paddock opened fire indiscriminately on a crowd of country music fans listening to Jason Aldean perform at the Route 91 Harvest Festival Oct. 1, leaving 58 dead and almost 500 more injured. The events of the past nine days have taught them more about this place and its people than they might have gleaned in five "normal" years. "We're playing for our city, for the tragedy that happened, for all the people that were here tonight and were affected by the tragedy".

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