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It’s the time of year that all hockey fans have been waiting for, The Stanley Cup Playoffs! Sixteen teams are now vying for one of the greatest trophies in all of sports, The Stanley Cup.

One team that no one expected to be in this year’s playoffs was the Vegas Golden Knights. Expansion teams are supposed to be bad and look like they have never played together before. With the expansion draft idea that was used it changed the way expansion teams are built for the first year. In the past it was players that teams no longer wanted that were exposed in the draft. This time teams were only allowed to protect a certain number of players from the draft. This model left a lot of good players exposed for drafting by the expansion team to fill their roster for the upcoming season.

I don’t think anyone expected the team Vegas fielded to be any good and that they would finish near the bottom of the standings. That wasn’t the case to start the season but some of that success was probably attributed to the horrible incident in Las Vegas on October 1st to which the team responded with entertainment and the #VegasStrong hashtag.

The team started out hot and really never seemed to cool down for more than a few games. The fans flocked to the arena but even though they never had sell outs the arena was always filled. A lot of the local stores that carried Golden Knights gear always seemed to have empty spots where the gear had sold out. The town has embraced the team and thrown their support around it.

The Golden Knights have struggled with injuries, especially towards the end of the regular season. How these injuries will affect them during the playoffs remains to be seen.

We can say that they have had a very successful first season and exceeded expectations beyond what most of us imagined. For now they are a healthy franchise that has the support of a community who has never had a top level sports team before. The amount of merchandise I see around town is proof of the team’s success. I may even be getting a jersey down the road. At this point if they don’t go far in the playoffs the team has still had great success.

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