Commentary: Something amazing is happening in the American Desert Southwest. Something many said could not be done. A National Hockey League team in Las Vegas, Nevada called the Vegas Golden Knights is competing for the holy grail of ice hockey, the Stanley Cup. This is happening in their very first season of existence as a new expansion team.
Back in 1980, an event now called the Miracle on Ice happened. This was when a group of overmatched American Olympian hockey players took on the powerful and much more skilled Soviets in the medal round of the Winter Olympics and beat the vastly more talented team 4-3 in a big upset. The Americans went on to win the Gold Medal. This remains one of the most remarkable achievements in sports. And now, the world is witnessing a Second Miracle On Ice in the legend in Las Vegas. A brand new team competing for a championship in their very first year just isn’t supposed to happen. But it is.
How has Vegas done it? Organizations everywhere are learning answers to that question. Good management, good coaching, prudent drafting and trading of players is a beginning. Add to that a great deal of hard work, a great team ethic, enthusiastic community support, and a belief in miracles are some of the answers.
If Vegas does win the Stanley Cup, the storybook ending will be complete. Even if they don’t, it won’t diminish how they have already done the impossible. First year teams at anything just don’t take over and compete for a championship except in dreams. Or in Las Vegas in 2018. This special team has not only given the City of Las Vegas a true sense of community that it has lacked, but it is one of the most compelling things seen in years. Adding to the fun is that they are competing against the team from Washington, D.C. That ought to bring some additional spice to the story.
Whatever happens, this Vegas NHL team has treated sports fans around the world to one of the most amazing seasons any team in any sport has ever had. In a troubled world starving for positive and uplifting stories, the saga of the Golden Knights is like cool oasis water in a hot dry desert. And that imagery is especially appropriate here.
If you follow hockey, you already know how special the Stanley Cup Finals are. If you haven’t watched hockey, this would be a great time to start. Not only will you see see some fabulous athletic competition by some of the best athletes on the planet playing a game that is lightning fast, but you just might see a Miracle in the Desert. And how many times in a lifetime does that come along?
Las Vegas vs. Washington, D.C. Some might even call this tussle Good vs. Not-So-Good. Depending on your point of view, it could be seen this way from either side. And it certainly won’t hurt both of these cities to cool down a little. And the rest of us, too.