By Gary Norris Gray, BASN Staff Reporter
OAKLAND, CA., PHILADELPHIA, PA., AND NEW HAVEN, CONN.-The Vegas Golden Knights opened the season as the new kids on the NHL block last October, the team prepared for the start of their first hockey season as an expansion club. The host city was stunned by the mass shooting outside of Mandalay Bay Hotel.
The new expansion hockey team embraced the people of Las Vegas and the people embraced the team, the two needed each other. The City of Las Vegas needed something positive to recover from this horrific tragic event. The Vegas Golden Knights were the answer.
The world will never be the same with the 58 people lost in Las Vegas, Nevada mass shooting on October 1, 2017. The party town was shut down completely by a man, Stephen Paddock who wanted to be in the history books by shooting defenseless Americans.
The mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival shocked the nation and the world. The City of Las Vegas would use sports to unify their city and defy whatever Mr. Paddock wanted to achieve.
It is very interesting to note that The American news media continues to get this incorrect that the Las Vegas shooting was the largest in American history. There are three other Native American mass shootings.
The Sand Creek Massacre-Colorado 1864, 165 Cheyenne and Arapaho were killed, Wounded Knee in 1890, 150 Lakota were killed. Guess they also forgot the 1846 mass murder of the Wintu Native American Tribe by Explorer John C. Fremont on the Sacramento River. At least 120 men, women, and children died. These are the largest mass murder by gunfire in the United States.
There was an opening day tribute to the fallen victims of October 1st. The team stated that number 58 would never be worn in Las Vegas by a Golden Knight player as a tribute. They raised a banner with 58 stars, one for each victim and the Golden Knights logo. The team created fundraisers and donations for the victims the whole month of October.
The Vegas fans started learning the different rules and different offensive and defensive strategies of the game. In the beginning, the owners produced a show on the ice before the games as entertainment just in case the team did not win. Fans would enjoy themselves every night if the Knights lost.
The Golden Knights responded with hard-nosed, winning hockey and teams did not want to come to Vegas. Word started to circulate not to get the Las Vegas blues because the Golden Knights would beat you up on the ice.
East coast teams would take two periods or more before they would get their skating legs and by that time the Knights had already won the game. The strategy was working.
The team won game after game even the ones they were not supposed to win. They broke the records for the best start of a season for an expansion team at 3-0, the first expansion team to win six straight, the first to win 34 games out of 50, and most points for expansion team 84, it would not end, the town fell in love with the team.
A Golden Knight hockey ticket became the hardest ticket to get in Las Vegas.
Even bad luck would not stop The Golden Knights. Their starting goalie — two-time Stanley Cup Champion, Marc Andre Fleury went down for a six week period, they kept winning.
Two more goalies would enter the nets and leave. Oscar Dansk suffered an injury while Vadim Shipachyov retired and went to the Russian Hockey League. Then the newly acquired Malcolm Subban from the Boston Bruins stopped the goalie merry-go-round with stellar netminding and a 9-2-2 record.
The Vegas crowd would yell “SUUUUU” with each save. Malcolm became a crowd favorite before he would also fall to the injury bug, with a groin injury; the Golden Knights continued to win.
The Knights continued their historic run becoming the first expansion team since The Edmonton Oilers and Hartford Whalers to make the playoffs in their first year. The Knights led the Pacific Division from December 23 until the playoffs something unheard of. Not only that they were the first expansion team to sweep a playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings.
The only things that stopped the Golden Knights were Alex Ovechkin and the Stanley Cup-starved Washington Capitals.
The Vegas Golden Knights and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles worked together to released new license plate with “Vegas Born” and the Knights logo on them. The extra monies will go to the medical needs of the October 1st shooting victims… Now that’s “Vegas Strong.” The team, city, and state have a new motto for the 2018-19 season. “Vegas Stronger” No doubt the Vegas Golden Knights will be a factor in The Pacific Division and Western Conference.
Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian, Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston, Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email Glcgray@gmail.com
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