The Golden Knights’ Stanley Cup Parade in Las Vegas is said to have a deeper meaning

On Saturday it will also be a path of healing.

This is where the Vegas Golden Knights celebrate their Stanley Cup win with an unprecedented evening parade, largely due to the setting known as “The Strip.”

But there is a much deeper meaning here.

Almost six years after this area was a center of tears, there will be cheers thanks to the Golden Knights.

And that’s good.

On October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old man from Mesquite, Nevada, opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel at a crowd below attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival, killing 60 people. More than 850 people were injured in the incident.

Nine days later, the Golden Knights won their first home game 5-2 against the Arizona Coyotes at T-Mobile Arena. More importantly, this team, the first of the so-called “Big Four” professional sports — hockey, baseball, football and basketball — helped a fractured community recover. It honored first responders. Players visited police stations and fire stations. Money was raised for the families of the victims through various charities. On the ice, it provided a distraction where it needed it.

It’s been doing that ever since.

And on Saturday, 2,086 days after the tragedy, tears of joy will replace tears of sorrow as the parade ends less than 2 miles from the scene of the shooting.

“We should be proud,” owner Bill Foley said Friday. “We should be proud of what we have achieved in this community.”

George McPhee can only agree.

The 64-year-old is the president of hockey operations for the Golden Knights. Like his players, coaches and fan base at large, he celebrated after Vegas’ 9-3 title-winning win over the Florida Panthers in Tuesday’s game five of the Stanley Cup Finals, although he said he’s not a big drinker.

“I think I only had three beers,” he said, laughing.

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For McPhee, there are several ways to honor the franchise’s six-year journey to the championship, nothing more than recognizing the Golden Knights’ contributions in helping Las Vegas get back on its feet.

“Yes, it’s great to win a Stanley Cup ring, but the experience of sharing it with this group of players is great,” said McPhee, who was general manager from 2016 to 2019 before joining Kelly McCrimmon in promoted this position. “But the boost you can give a city is really what counts.”

“Despite all the parties and everything else the past few nights, I might still have gotten the chance, but if I had gone home that night and just walked around the neighborhood with my wife with no one around.” , I would have said: “We delivered. We delivered for Bill Foley. We delivered for the organization. But above all, we delivered for this city.”

He admitted that the feeling of being at the top of the hockey world is still fresh and still surreal. He said he watched NHL Network for hours on Wednesday trying to understand the constant evidence that the Golden Knights were Stanley Cup champions.

“The thing is, they can’t take it away from you,” McPhee said. “I used to hear that all the time from other people. Now I understand it firsthand.”

So does his players, who are probably still cheering as you read this.

After beating the Panthers, the idea was born that a few players should go to Rock Creek Cattle Company, Foley’s golf course and cattle ranch in Deer Lodge, Montana. Soon everyone wanted to join. On Thursday morning, four private planes took the entire team there, accompanied by their wives, the first arriving around 11am

There was golf, followed by ATV riding, Foley said. Dinner was at around 8:30pm followed by libations at the Last Shot Bar. Foley had everything set up for the team including poker games complete with a dealer.

“It’s like the bonding trip [the team] “I was there in October,” Foley said. “They watched the sun come up and then went to play some more golf.”

Speaking to the media, Foley pointed out that the Stanley Cup is still being played in Montana. It would work its way back to Las Vegas as players progress through the day on Friday.

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For Foley, McPhee, McCrimmon, coach Bruce Cassidy and all the players and staff, the best is yet to come. The parade down the Strip, past such iconic Las Vegas landmarks as the Bellagio and Caesars Palace, will be the culmination of a dream come true.

And the moment the championship motorcade rolls past hundreds of thousands of expected fans, the ensuing cheer will be for more than just a Stanley Cup title.

It will be a collective way for the city to say thank you for supporting the healing process. And, McPhee said, it will remind him of that memorable first home game of 2017.

“I remember [us] “Scored the first goal and how the crowd reacted,” he said. “They almost blew off the roof.”

“It was probably the first time this week that people were celebrating something.”

They will do it again on Saturday. And once again, the Golden Knights will be the reason.

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