When Ryan Reaves presides over a wedding, the expectation for the bride and groom is to have a memory they can cherish together for the rest of their lives.
The Golden Knights’ bruising winger delivered that and more Sunday for one lucky local couple.
Reaves, wearing a sharp green suit, entered Chapel of the Flowers and introduced himself to the approximately 50 rally-towel-waving guests as only he could.
“Many of you know me as Ryan Reaves,” he began, “the Grim Reaver, Reavo, (Evander) Kane’s worst nightmare …”
The room erupted in laughter moments later. That was all groom Justin Long needed to hear.
“The Kane comment made the entire event,” Long said. “He could have said whatever he wanted after that. I was like, ‘All right! That was cool!’ One hundred percent.”
Long and his wife, Laura, were winners of a contest held last month by the chapel to have a wedding or renew vows with Reaves officiating.
The two were introduced to each other by a mutual friend at a barbecue four years ago and secretly married after 39 days. A year later, the Longs held a ceremony on the Fourth of July in San Diego for their family and friends, and Sunday’s re-commitment ceremony came with a Golden Knights theme.
“It’s a big part of what we do,” Justin Long said. “The Knights are a big part of our family.”
Laura Long’s dress was sparkling gold and black, while Justin Long wore a red golf shirt with the Knights’ logo on the chest. Sons Gage, 7, and J.J., 2, wore Knights home jerseys, as did the majority of the attendees.
Reaves autographed several jerseys and T-shirts, and posed for pictures during a meet-and-greet following the ceremony.
“We’re huge Knights fans, and then we’re huge Reaves fans,” Laura Long said. “It was pretty easy to fall in love with Ryan when he got the goal to get us into the Stanley Cup (Final), so it’s really cool that he got to be here and celebrate our love with us.”
Reaves rewrote the script for the ceremony to include several personalized touches, including a plug for his 7Five Brewing beer, and said he memorized a few notes about 30 minutes prior.
The dig at Kane, the San Jose winger and Reaves’ longtime rival, was easily the highlight.
The Knights, who were eliminated by San Jose in an infamous seven-game Western Conference quarterfinal in April, open the regular season Oct. 2 at T-Mobile Arena against Kane and the Sharks.
“I think I speak for my teammates when I say we’re excited for the season,” Reaves said. “I think we’ve got a chip on our shoulder — two chips on our shoulder, to be honest. … Last year, the way things ended, I think we’re hungry to get back and prove what kind of team we actually have.”
Reaves posted career highs in goals (nine), assists (11) and points (20) last season; he will become an unrestricted free agent in 2020.
The 32-year-old hopes to re-sign with the Knights and said this is the first summer during his nine-year NHL career that he hasn’t returned to his native Winnipeg, Manitoba.
“Me and my family decided this is now home,” Reaves said. “Obviously, I want to retire here. I want to play here as long as I can, so being out in the community is important.”
Golden Knights key dates
Thursday: Rookie camp opens (off-ice testing, closed to public)
Friday: Rookie practice at City National Arena
Saturday through Sept. 10: Rookie Faceoff Tournament at Irvine, California.
Sept. 12: Training camp opens (off-ice testing, closed to public)
Sept. 13: Full practice at City National Arena
Sept. 15: Preseason opener vs. Arizona at T-Mobile Arena