The horrific tragedy that struck Las Vegas one year ago this coming Monday will forever be etched in the minds of the survivors, first responders, volunteers and others who worked tirelessly following the senseless and cowardly act of gunman Stephen Paddock.
Las Vegas’ new hockey team at the time, the Golden Knights, rallied around their new home to help in any way possible. This act put the organization on a stage they never imagined as the team followed the tragedy with a historic home game.
How the knights helped the city heal will never be forgotten. From that special and sacred ceremony to the speech by Las Vegan Deryk Engelland and everything else that followed.
The team’s General Manager George McPhee sat down to talk about that night and how proud he was of this Las Vegas team and their willingness to provide service in a community that was brand new to many of the players.
They willingly, as did so many others, help establish the “Vegas Strong” hashtag.
“Who would’ve ever thought his hockey team would become a big part of the community healing,” McPhee said. “We wanted to make sure we got that ceremony right for this community, and we did. I’ll never forget those 58 seconds,” McPhee said as he got choked up. “That felt like forever. The game didn’t mean anything hockey didn’t mean anything. We had a full house trying to help our community; trying to help our country and we said from day one that this organization is embedded in this community now, we’ve come from different places, but we’re here now. This is our home and we’re gonna move heaven and earth to help. Some people will want to move on from October 1. Maybe they need to move on. We never will. We will always, always help.
We’ve done a lot of things that people know about, and our players have done things offline and quietly. It wasn’t coming up with a plan or anything it was just a player said what can we do; what can we do right now? We already had players who are helping. We had a coach who was driving a friend from hospital to hospital trying to find a daughter. It’s just devastating that one person could cause so much pain but I think we all learned that some really beautiful things can come out of tragedy. As bad as that was, more beautiful things took over.
In the way this community came together and looked after; we’re proud of how we performed for this community last year, and we will help him continue to help and in all kinds of different ways in this community because that’s part of our mission. Play some good hockey but to do good where we can. Our players have a profile and I’ll use it to help.”
McPhee has been through a tragedy of this magnitude before. He was working in Washington, D.C. as the general manager of the Washington Capitals when the plane flew into the Pentagon.