Publish date:

What Happened In Vegas

Author:

A SEASON THAT BEGAN WITH TRAGEDY LED TO MORE TRIUMPH THAN ANYONE THOUGHT POSSIBLE

UPON UNVEILING its roster in June 2017, Vegas received what amounted to a Nelson Muntz laugh from most NHL pundits, so loaded was it with reclamation projects. Four months later the Golden Knights were 8-1-0, matching the 1974--75 expansion Capitals' entire victory total. And late last May, they clinched the Western Conference finals with a Game 5 win over Winnipeg. Who expected that a roster dubbed The Golden Misfits would fit together like a puzzle? For that matter, who believed hockey would take hold in Vegas?

On Oct. 1, 2017, a shooting brought team and community closer when 58 concertgoers were killed and another 851 were injured at a music festival a mile from the Knights' arena. The team quickly mobilized, with players visiting hospitals and blood drives and hosting survivors and first responders at games.

The Knights ultimately lost the Stanley Cup finals, in five games, to the Capitals. But in a town famous for celebrating winners, Vegas had found something better than a trophy. Before Washington raised the Cup, the Golden Knights circled through the neutral zone at T-Mobile Arena, sticks in the air. The home crowd roared with one final ovation, thanking them for a season that lasted far longer than anyone could have expected.