March 25th, 2018 would’ve potentially been a legendary night for the Las Vegas Golden Knights, if the Edmonton Oilers won their game against the Anaheim Ducks that would’ve allowed the Knights to clinch a spot in the playoffs. Although the Oilers loss was a set back for the Knights, they’re not out yet! Considering the Golden Knights hold a 7 point lead in the Pacific division currently, it’s safe to say their playoff spot is secure. But let’s talk about the incredible journey that led this expansion team up to this point.
2017 NHL Expansion Draft: June 21st, 2017
The draft for the Las Vegas Golden Knights took place in the T-Moblie Arena, located in Paradise, Nevada. This arena was going to become the Golden Knights new home. The draft took place during the NHL Awards ceremony.
The Golden Knights received some very talented players from the following teams. Marc- Andre Fleury the Pittsburgh Penguins goalie and James Neal of the Nashville Predators, just to name a few. These players alone really set the mood for the fantastic inaugural season the Golden Knights had ahead of them.
October 2017: Vegas Strong
October 10, 2017, was the first time the Golden Knights stepped onto their home arena ice as an official team of the NHL. The T-Moblie arena was packed with fan support that night following the Route 91 Festival tragedy, which took place only 9 days prior. On October 1st a mass shooting took place at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, located on the Las Vegas strip. 58 people were killed, and over 400 were injured during the concert event when a gunman opened fire off the balcony of the 32nd floor in Mandalay Bay Hotel.
To honor those fallen during the opening ceremony of the Golden Knights first official home game, all the message boards around the arena that would typically be showcasing ads displayed the phrase “VEGAS STRONG.” Before the puck drop lead by survivors of the shooting, the ice had the names of the victims projected onto it. Following that tribute, there was a moment of silence. The Golden Knights took this tragedy has their chance to shine a light of hope on their new home. The Knights weren’t going to let Vegas Strong be just a phrase to them. The team as a whole were going to make it words for them to live by.
Inaugural Season Breakdown: 2017-2018
Throughout the Las Vegas Knights inaugural season, they kept “Vegas Strong” in their hearts not just in the way they played the game. The Knights started their season winning 8 out of the first 9 games they played. They are the first team to manage this unbelievable accomplishment. In December despite some of the Knights best players suffering injuries, they went on to set another expansion team record of six straight wins, which would help the team make up for that 10th game loss.
On February 1st, 2018 the Golden Knights beat the odds when they set the expansion record for most wins in a debut season, with 34 wins out of only 50 games. Most recently the team set the record for the most points in an inaugural season, with 84 points as their total. Midway through this memorable season the Golden Knights also got Tomas Tatar of the Detriot Red Wings as an added addition to this unstoppable team. James Neal has also proven to be the top scorer on the team this season, with 6 game-winning goals. Leading behind by one is William Karlsson with a total of 5 game-winning goals so far. The players on this team are truly a force to be reckoned with.
The Golden Knights currently have a higher ticket revenue than The Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, and the Philadephia Flyers! They’ve managed to sell 13,500 out of 17,000 seats in the arena! The Knights could potentially make a profit of 76 million dollars in ticket revenue next season, based on the success this opening season has brought them!
The Golden Knights have truly defined what it means to be “Vegas Strong.” They are making a name for themselves and the state of Nevada. I can’t wait to see them make it to the playoffs! I have a feeling they will clinch that spot sooner than we think! For now, we can blame the Oilers for the extended wait.