By Rhonda R. McClure

(Photo: By David_Vasquez (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

As many of us woke up on Monday, October 2, 2017, we were met with the news of yet another horrific event that had taken the lives of some and injured so many more. The gunman killed 59 people and injured more than 500 either through his own shots or the resulting stampede of panic that his shots caused in Las Vegas. Yet another fun event was tarnished and may never be the same.

As someone who lives in Boston and went through the Boston Marathon bombing, right down to the “shelter in place” that was declared when they were trying to find the one brother who had managed to escape, I understand what the citizens of Las Vegas are experiencing. It doesn’t help that the media is still all over the event and things are still coming out about what the shooter—who I refuse to name because it should be about the victims—had and did.

It is at times like this that the residents look for someone to give them a chance to begin the healing process. In Boston, the Red Sox and the Boston Bruins helped Bostonians take that first step back to normalcy. And it wasn’t just the local teams but the teams around the country of each league who showed support.

Now, unfortunately, Las Vegas is the one in need of healing. It should have been a time filled with the excitement and amazement of a new NHL franchise—something the citizens had been showing their support for from the moment the Las Vegas Golden Knights franchise was announced. Even before the team had a name, hockey fans were signing up for season tickets.

Though it seems heartless, time will continue moving forward and the NHL opening games which are slated to begin on Thursday will be played. For Vegas, their first home game will be played on October 10th.

However, the National Hockey League announced on Tuesday, October 3, 2017, that under the banner of “Vegas United” they, their 31 clubs, and all the players will honor the victims of the Vegas shooting at their season-opening games.

For those who go to hockey games, looking for that escape from day-to-day life, a sliver of healing will begin. And while it may seem like it is frivolous, as someone who went through this just four years ago, it does help. Watching the other teams wear stickers on their helmets and knowing that they cared, reminded me and the others that we weren’t alone.

Hockey fans, even though they wear different jerseys, know when they need to come together. But the National Hockey League understands that it takes more than just those good feelings. So the Vegas Golden Knights, the Foley Family Charitable Trust and the NHL announced a joint donation of $300,000 to support the victims. Additional assistance through pledge drives and other events will also take place.

Hockey is a family. And right now the NHL family comes together to support Las Vegas.

Las Vegas United.

A family historian by profession, Rhonda R. McClure has loved hockey since she was a child in New Hampshire. Any opportunity to combine her love of writing, hockey and research is something she looks forward to with much enthusiasm. She's been accused of seeking out shinny games when there are no other hockey events taking place. She is a member of the Society for International Hockey Research. Follow her on Twitter at @HockeyMaven1917.

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