Past year I ponied up for quarter-season tickets when the unnamed team was doing a ticket drive, last week I purchased Center Ice, and last night I attended the inaugural home game. Instead, the all-white boards simply displayed the message "Vegas Strong".
For their first walk onto home ice, the Knights skated out with first responders, doctors and nurses who saved so many lives during the tragic shooting. But to those who say the anthem should not be sung before sporting events, I'll offer this-- those few minutes have given some of the most powerful moments that i can remember.
The initial home game in franchise existence was supposed to be one huge celebration of the long-awaited debut of major professional sports in Las Vegas.
It's great to see a sports team reach out with not only money but their time and energy to try to help people who suffered a bad tragedy.
It became obvious during Deryk Engelland's stirring pregame speech, punctuated by the spirited "Go Knights, Go" chant by towel-waving fans crammed into T-Mobile Arena: The Vegas Golden Knights need to win this game. He hopes to follow the Golden Knights in addition to his Maple Leafs.
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. 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.
Like us, they'll need to remain, "Vegas Strong".
For coach Gerard Gallant, the challenge Tuesday is to keep the players' focus on what happens on the ice.
Their performance hasn't been flawless by any means, but it's been held together by enough Marc-Andre Fleury saves and James Neal goals to catapult them into the national sports spotlight.
Piazza hit a home run into the cold NY night at Shea Stadium in the Mets' first home game after the September 11 terrorist attacks for a late-game victory.
Engelland doesn't score many of them.