Golden Knights home opener recognizes Las Vegas tragedy

Golden Knights home opener recognizes Las Vegas tragedy

"We are Vegas Strong", he said. Las Vegas was the largest metropolitan area in the US without one of the four traditional major professional sports, and Foley paid $500 million for a franchise to play at T-Mobile Arena, which was already under construction.

The initial home game in franchise existence was supposed to be one enormous celebration of the long-awaited debut of major professional sports in Las Vegas.

The Vegas Golden Knights announced Tuesday that they were partnering with the National Hockey League and the Foley Family Charitable Trust to donate $300,000 to the victims and first responders of the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

People of Las Vegas looking for a feel-good story in the aftermath of last weekend's mass shooting may have found an unlikely one in their newest team, the Vegas Golden Knights.

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The Golden Knights welcomed first responders on the ice during a 15-minute ceremony in which nurses, police officers, firefighters and doctors who helped victims were mentioned by name. And though Las Vegas has been home to so many heroes of late, a few more certainly couldn't hurt. The Golden Knights decided in advance of the game to strip their dasher boards from all advertisements out of respect for the victims, replacing them with "Vegas Strong".

It marks the first time a major professional sports team has ever played a home game in Vegas. The Knights have earned a couple of 2-1 wins, both on third period comebacks, one of which had to be settled in overtime.

Now they play their first home game under some very unfortunate circumstances.

With two early goals, James Neal became the first player with a goal in a franchise's first three games since Billy Harris (1972 Islanders). The Knights are off to a 2-0 start, and only two other expansion teams - the 1967 Los Angeles Kings and 1967 Oakland Seals - started 2-0. I saw real appreciation as I watched, and I think that human side of players stretches far beyond tragedy. A Knights win certainly might not mean much in the bigger scheme of things, but the Vegas fans deserve any lift they can get right now. The players and coaches hope they can play a role in a return to normalcy. "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". 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.

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