Vegas Golden Knights
How A First-year Expansion Team Healed Las Vegas and Shocked the Hockey WorldBook - 2018
The amazing story of Las Vegas's inaugural season of hockey!
William Foley took a big risk when he and his partners paid $500 million to the National Hockey League for a Las Vegas expansion team. Would the locals support it? Could it win games? Would it earn back the investment? It turned out that Vegas was the perfect place for such a gamble, and Vegas Golden Knights delves deeply into the VGK's brief, unlikely, and momentous quest for the Stanley Cup in its inaugural season. The first home game occurred only nine days after and a mile away from the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. The opening ceremony, which remembered the fallen and honored the first responders, captured the hearts of all Las Vegans and never let go. It didn't hurt that the team started setting records immediately: the first expansion team in the NHL's long history to win six of their first seven games, including two on the road.
From there, the Knights' march to the playoffs was inexorable. They led their division at the end of the regular season, swept their first series in four games, took the second series in six, and won the Western Division championship in five. As if by magic, the first-year ragtag bunch of castaways were four wins away from hoisting one of the most coveted trophies on Earth.
This momentous story didn't culminate in the feel-good fairy-tale climax, but many of the Golden Knights' expansion-team accomplishments--astronomical ticket prices, phenomenal merchandise sales, media saturation, fan adulation, and dozens of records that might never be broken--were relevant not only to the NHL but to all major-league sports. And by the time the VGK became one of two teams to vie for the Lord Stanley Cup, the support for this team, this phenomenon, had gone viral, receiving tweets from--and selling apparel to--fans in more than 100 countries. The fantastic journey this team was taking grew into an enormous cultural phenomenon, especially coming from such a transient and skin-deep city like Las Vegas.
In the end, this was a situation that almost can't exist in sports where, for there to be a winner, there has to be a loser. Whether the Vegas Golden Knights won or lost was, amazingly enough for a major-league sports franchise, almost beside the point. For the VGK just to be in the Stanley Cup Final proves that both teams in hockey's championship series were winners. There will never be another triumph quite like the one that this book chronicles.