It was an emotional night in Las Vegas as the Golden Knights took the ice for the first time at home since the tragedy on October 1st.
LAS VEGAS — Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland says before Tuesday night the largest group he ever spoke in front of “was the 20 guys in the dressing room.”
He was understandably nervous to have a microphone in his hands in front of 18,191 fans before what Vegas coach Gerard Gallant called “the most important game we will ever play.”
Engelland responded by making a memorable speech and then followed it up by scoring an early first-period goal to help lead Vegas to a 5-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes in the first regular-season home game for the Golden Knights.
“I thought his speech was unbelievable — he made a great speech out there on the ice and then for us to come out and play the way we did for the first seven or eight minutes was incredible,” Gallant said. “It was the perfect script for us.”
Engelland’s speech came at the end of an emotional pregame ceremony that honored the memories of the 58 people killed in last week’s mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip. The Golden Knights also saluted the first responders who helped save many that night.
A 14-year resident of Las Vegas, Engelland said he met his wife in the city and his children were born there. He said he could relate to the fans because he was proud to be from Las Vegas.
He then thanked all of the first responders for the work they do.
“Vegas Strong,” he said in closing.