Bill Foley wanted to honor the victims and first responders from the Oct. 1 mass shooting on the Strip before the Golden Knights’ home opener Tuesday at T-Mobile Arena.
The Golden Knights owner said he thinks the team succeeded.
“I thought it worked out great,” Foley said during the first intermission of the Knights’ 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. “It was very solemn, it was very moving and it accomplished what we were trying to accomplish. I thought it was good for the town.”
The ceremony, which lasted more than 20 minutes, began with a video of musicians and celebrities offering well wishes to the city.
First responders then were introduced and accompanied onto the ice by a Knights player or member of the front office before a ceremonial puck-drop at center ice.
After 58 seconds of silence for those killed at the Route 91 Harvest festival, the sellout crowd sang the national anthem with organizers from the outdoor country music concert.
Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland, a longtime resident of Las Vegas, also addressed the crowd.
“I thought our guys did a terrific job,” Foley said. “We were trying to thank the town and bring the town together and show Vegas that we’re really part of the community.”
Nerves? What nerves?
Golden Knights players figured to be nervous before the opening faceoff. But Erik Haula said that nervousness could be to the home team’s advantage.
“I think some nervousness is a good thing,” the center said at the team’s morning skate at City National Arena. “It gets you going.
“There’s bad nervous, and there’s good nervous. We’ve already played two games, so I think once the game begins, we’ll be ready.”
Forward David Perron said: “We have an idea of what’s going to go on, so we’ll handle it. Once the puck is dropped and the intensity picks up and that first hit is made, you’re focused on hockey.”
Home and home
Nowadays, the NHL schedule doesn’t see a lot of teams play home-and-home games. But the Knights and Coyotes had their rematch after the Knights won 2-1 in overtime Saturday at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
The Knights will have one more home-and-home set this season — Feb. 26 and 27 when they meet the Los Angeles Kings. The first game will be at Staples Center.
Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis was in attendance for the home opener and arrived at the arena wearing a white Knights T-shirt. Foley said he was unaware Davis was coming but said it was “great.”
“Maybe he’ll share some of that money with the team,” Foley said jokingly.