McNabb, Knights pay tribute to Vegas heroes

By Joel van der Veen

LAS VEGAS — As they took the ice for their home opener, the Vegas Golden Knights paid tribute to the men and women who answered the call during their city’s darkest hour.

The NHL team opened Tuesday’s game with a ceremony honouring the city of Las Vegas, the victims of the Oct. 1 mass shooting, and the heroes who responded in the face of tragedy.

As each player skated onto the ice, one by one, they were joined by firefighters, police and health professionals.

First on the ice was Davidson native and Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb, who was accompanied by firefighter Ben Cole.

Speaking to the Leader on Thursday, McNabb said it was an emotional experience and a memorable way to open their first home game of the season.

“It definitely gave us energy,” he said. “It was a cool thing to be part of.”

The ceremony included 58 seconds of silence, in honour of the 58 people killed by a single gunman during a country music festival in Vegas on Oct. 1.

The victims’ names were projected on the ice during the ceremony, while survivors of the event participated in the puck drop at the game’s start.

Deryk Engelland, who played as McNabb’s defensive partner for the season’s first three games, paid tribute to Las Vegas on Tuesday.

“I met my wife here, my kids were born here, and I know how special this city is,” he said, adding later to the survivors of the victims, “We’ll do everything we can to help you and our city heal.”

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