Vegas Golden Knights Win Their First Stanley Cup

There were also questions about adding a franchise in a city known for legal sports gambling, something sports leagues, the N.H.L. included, had long shunned. Bettman said betting on hockey wasn’t as popular as it was on football, so the threat that players would throw a game was minimal.

“We don’t worry about the integrity of our game,” Bettman said.

As it turned out, Bettman should have put money down on the team before it took the ice for the first time. The Knights overcame seemingly every obstacle thrown at them in their inaugural season. They sold more than 14,000 season tickets before the team even had a name. The team moved into T-Mobile Arena, which was already open on the Strip.

But after the team’s final preseason game, a gunman in the Mandalay Bay hotel, a mile or so south of the arena, opened fire on a concert nearby, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds of others. The team’s players, who were supposed to have appeared at a public rally the next day, became a galvanizing force in the city. They fanned out across the community, thanking police officers, giving blood and donating tens of thousands of dollars to help victims, their families and emergency medical workers.

Their response endeared them to the city’s stunned and grieving residents. And remarkably, the Knights went on an epic run. Led by the three-time Stanley Cup champion Marc-Andre Fleury in goal, the team began the season as 500-to-1 long shots to win the Stanley Cup. Yet they collected 109 points and a .622 winning percentage in the regular season, both league records for a team in its first season by wide margins. They raced through the first three rounds of the playoffs, beating the Los Angeles Kings, the San Jose Sharks and the Winnipeg Jets, and won the first game of the Stanley Cup finals against the Washington Capitals. The team lost the next four games and the series, but it had made its mark like no one else.

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