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Las Vegas soars during inaugural season

Not too long ago, alumnus Julian Castro, ‘17, and I voyaged over to the Bay Area to watch one of our favorite sport teams, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, battle the San Jose Sharks. The Golden Knights have recently become a fascinating sports story, as well as a new favorite team for both of us.

Alexander Rurik | The Feather Online

The SAP Center is the home of the San Jose Sharks, who lost to the Las Vegas Golden Knights 5-3, Feb. 8.

Two-thirds of the way through their inaugural season, the expansion team from Sin City had totaled the second most points in all of the NHL, stunning virtually everyone.

While I have followed them throughout their first season and enjoy their success, I fail to remember a time where I stopped and actually thought about this certain team and why they are different. What sets this specific group apart and contributes to their ability to flourish?

When I look at it, it boils down to two things: their unity and mindset.

Obviously, every organization needs players. Expansion teams gain them mainly through a system called the expansion draft. In the Golden Knights’ case, each of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League protect a certain number of their top players. The expansion team then chooses one player from each team who is not protected.

Therefore, the players drafted are not the best of the best and generally hold a similar talent level to the other draftees. This leaves room for competition within the team as each player longs to prove themselves better than what their previous organization thought of them. With a fresh start and new opportunities, players can rise up and work hard to become the star they could not be before.

Attempting to receive a response from the iconic account, I shot a tweet out before the game began. 

Still, a full squad of players not considered top-tier might struggle to long-established organizations with franchise stars. So how are the Las Vegas Golden Knights accomplishing top tier results?

Along with the desire to prove themselves individually, I would argue teamwork is the another factor in their success. Other teams keep their superstar names, but the Golden Knights, practically starless, have learned to work together to achieve their aspirations.

In their first season, they came out and worked as a team while other lineups carry their star players and build around them. This show of unity helps prove the thought that we, as humans, achieve more when we work together to accomplish a certain goal, versus when we work individually to accomplish that same goal.  

The coaches, players, fanbase and organization as a whole had to buy into something greater than themselves for anything to work this well, this soon. They needed to embrace the mindset of “team” rather than “self” and I think they have done so, similar to the MLB teams of the Chicago Cubs of 2016 and Houston Astros of 2017.

The Las Vegas Golden Knights twitter account and public relations team have done an extremely well job of amassing followers and fans by being interactive, modern and quite silly, as well as staying continuously connected with their home city by adopting the #VegasStrong and #VegasBorn hashtags. It goes to show how powerful a tool social media can be.

Alexander Rurik | The Feather Online

The Las Vegas coaches, team, organization and city needed to buy into something greater than themselves to succeed during their inaugural year.

Nine days after the tragic Las Vegas shooting, the Golden Knights held an emotional 20 minute pregame ceremony honoring the victims and first responders. The game ended in a 5-2 win for the Golden Knights, creating spark between team and city. As of Feb. 14, Las Vegas is 20-4-2 at home.

When thinking of the mindset of the Golden Knights, I think of the staff of The Feather Online. At this point in the scholastic year, we total 20 writers and just under ten photo and video journalists, yet manage to compete against staffs many times the size of our own. How? The only way we succeed is by buying into what advisers Greg Stobbe and Kori Friesen tell us, believing we can do it, and then actually working to accomplish it.

Like the Golden Knights, results when unified turn out superior. During important weeks such as homecoming or Scholastic Journalism Week, we especially buy into the “team” mentality, relying on all different parts to come through, all the while believing the desired results are possible. Over 50% of the battle is in the head and the mindset you hold determines a large chunk of your outcomes. Lastly, never underestimate the power of an awesome social media presence. 

For more sports articles, read Challenges of balancing academics, athletics. For more columns, check out International student adapts to American academic system.

Alexander Rurik can be reached via twitter @alexrurik23 and via email: Alexander Rurk.

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