THANK YOU VGK

It’s been exactly one month to the day that the Stanley Cup Playoffs ended in what was a difficult loss for our Knights. Dammit…that wasn’t a dream? Okay. Fine.

I will admit (for possibly the first time) that if we were going to not win the Cup, then it was to a team that truly deserved it. Overall it was a wild year and a wild season and I’ve been so inspired by the whole damn thing.

This post was originally going to come out a week after the end of the season, but then I put it off. And then I didn’t want to sit down and write it because I didn’t want to believe it. Now that I’m sitting down to write it, I find myself at a loss for words trying to describe how magical it has all been. I cry when I talk to people about everything that happened. To be honest that might be the only word to describe it: everything. 

But now I think it’s finally time for me to tie up Season 1 of VGK for myself and move on to the future.

Where do we even begin with this besides, thank you. From a city in need of healing, from a community in need of something to believe in. Thank. You.

All season, we learned the game of hockey more in depth or for the first time. Icing was no longer just a sugary cake topping and Gretzky wasn’t just a random guy Michael Scott quoted in The Office.

Locals born and raised here who picked random teams to cheer for and transplants who brought in their own hometown teams finally had one united front. We started to see ourselves as together under the same banner, which is a unique experience. Especially witnessing it from the beginning.

For so many of us, this was our first hometown team – myself included. Growing up in Idaho meant I was blessed and cursed with picking whichever team I wanted to be loyal to (Red Sox, Patriots, the occasional Bruins game). While I fully believe you can be a loyal supporter from afar, there is truly something special about a hometown team. This season I learned what that meant.

It’s walking around town and seeing nearly everyone wearing a hat, a shirt, a sticker on their car. It’s being proud to sport the gear yourself. It’s being so connected to the team that losses and hardships physically hurt. It’s crying when our miracle season comes to an end and when certain players leave our team. Or when they decide to stick around.

And as for what this team did for this city when they did, it’s everything. Sports can be a great escape, especially when a team, your team, is playing at their best. Coming together and being bonded forever under such a special team and a special season. Nothing will ever top this. No season will ever feel like this again. But the memories and the actions of everyone involved are ingrained in us and this city forever.

Vegas wasn’t the only crowd stopping to stare in awe of what was happening on the ice. Hockey and sports fans around the world took notice. They saw team members become a part of a community that was hurting. They witnessed the fact that Vegas is more than The Strip and the lights and the “extracurricular” activities. We are a strong, united community. The Knights created a place for misfits, a place where everyone became family.

It’s the father and son from Indiana who let me watch Game 5 with them at Bonnaroo because they had been obsessed with us all season, even though they’ve been Penguins loyalists forever. It’s the couple from  Jersey who joined us because they were so fascinated with the VGK story and wanted us to win.

It’s the people in the airport who walk over to tell you how much they love the Knights because they noticed you were wearing a hat, even though you are all the way across the country from home.

Everything.

I don’t know about y’all, but I can’t even talk about this whole thing without crying. The magic we felt, the hope they’ve created and everything in between. We’ve been apart of something special and as long as I live I will always remember this. My future children will grow up with these stories. About the year that hockey took over my life and the city of Las Vegas. The season that changed our lives forever.

Thank you VGK, for everything. We have your backs like you’ve had ours.

Viva Las Vegas ❤

#2Years1Cup

Author: Jess

Las Vegas local / writer, creator, festival goer, explorer, marketer, promoter, special event & experience curator

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