Las Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee just wanted his team to be competitive this season. He was not expecting an expansion team to be atop the Pacific with one of the best records (32-11-4) in the NHL.
But that’s exactly what’s happened.
“Well, needless to say, it’s been a heck of a ride so far,” McPhee said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “We didn’t expect this. We were hoping to be competitive, we were hoping to get surplus picks in the draft, and it looks like we accomplished both. But it’s still early. If the season ended tomorrow, I could exhale and be happy, but we still got a long way to go.”
Vegas immediately embraced the Golden Knights, who have the best home record (19-2-2) in the league. In fact, Las Vegas has quickly become one of the best home atmospheres in hockey.
“Well, I think Las Vegas has craved a professional team for many, many years,” McPhee said. “In some ways, teams give cities an identity. Las Vegas already has an identity. It’s a worldwide brand. But having its own professional sports team, we thought, would mean a lot to them – and it has. They have supported us beyond our wildest expectations.”
The Knights have been over capacity for every home game, and 10,000 fans showed up for a meet-the-team event a couple of weeks ago.
“There’s this nice love affair between the club and city and the city and the club, and it’s sort of been brought together by that desire to have a pro team,” McPhee said. “Needless to say, the events of Oct. 1 brought the whole city together. Our club was on a huge platform the next week when we held a ceremony before the game to honor the victims and the families and the first responders, and all that have certainly played a big part in this coming together of this city and this team.”