Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Unforgettable home opener for the Las Vegas Golden Knights

Unforgettable home opener for the Las Vegas Golden Knights

Keith Dotson, a member of the team which plans the Route 91 festival, was on site and lent a hand to victims and first responders in the chaotic aftermath.

"To the families and friends of the victims, we'll do everything we can to help you and our city heal".

"I'm sure there will be a lot of different emotions", Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland said.

Certainly, there will be great joy as Las Vegas and all of Southern Nevada celebrates the christening of its first major league professional sports franchise. But a fan festival was cancelled and numerous high-profile festivities scheduled for the opener have been delayed until the Golden Knights' second home game on Friday, when the Detroit Red Wings visit Las Vegas.

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

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. The Golden Knights are leaning on people like me to buy merchandise, get emotionally invested, and follow the team no matter how long it takes for them to get good. 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 Knights, like all expansion teams, weren't expected to be competitive in the first year. "Obviously, the city is still healing from the tragedy, and as players we're aware of that".

Engelland said: "We've never had an experience like this".

Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was among several players who experienced anxious moments on October 1. Owner Bill Foley said in an interview after the first period that Engelland's speech was unbelievable.

"We want to get every win we can for the city and the people that were involved".

"We've been working on it for a few days", he said. It's going to be emotional for us, but we know they're going to do a great job memorializing those people and helping everyone move forward.

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