The newest professional hockey team in the United States is leading the series for the championship of North American hockey.
The Vegas Golden Knights of Las Vegas, Nevada, defeated the Washington Capitals of D.C., Monday night in Game One. The score was 6 to 4.
The Stanley Cup Finals is a best of seven games series.
The Knights began its first season last October. At the time, Las Vegas was recovering from the worst mass shooting in the U.S.
On October 1, an attacker on a high floor of a Las Vegas hotel used a military-style assault rifle to shoot at a concert crowd below. The gunman killed 58 people and wounded more than 700. He then killed himself.
Bill Bradley is with the sports department of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He said the Golden Knights worked to help the city recover.
He said team members "went to blood banks, went to food banks, went to meet with first responders. People felt like they cared."
The Knights are the first expansion team in the National Hockey League since 2000. They have broken several records in their first season.
The team won eight of their first nine games. Then came some losses and injuries. But Bradley said the team had made fans, with "600, 700, 800 people showing up for practices every day."
One such fan is John Laubhan. He said supporters started to think that the team could win a first-season championship.
He added, “As the season went on, they proved it could happen. And look where we are - Stanley Cup finals!"
Laubhan's son Brandon was also at the practice. He said the city's spirits lifted as the team continued to win. He said, "To have the team come at that time to lift the spirits of everybody, it was truly indescribable."
Energized the city
Fan Anthony Valdovinos agrees, calling the city “energized.”
He added, "People are happy, shaking hands, (saying) 'Oh my God, you're a Knights fan? I'm a Knights fan.' It's good for the city."
Camille Gabel moved to Las Vegas from Michigan. She said Las Vegas is a city of transplants.
She added, "Very few people are from here. Everybody moves here. So, the Knights have really given the community something to band around."
The Golden Knights are good, but can they win the Stanley Cup?
"Definitely," said fan Kevin Lewis, as he and his family watched the team practice. "We've got the momentum...we're going to win it."
Fans say whatever happens now, the Vegas Golden Knights are already champions to the desert city.
Mike O’Sullivan reported this story for VOA News. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
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Words in This Story
ice hockey – n.a game played on an ice rink in which two teams of six players on skates use curved sticks to try to shoot a puck into the opponent's goal
league – n. a group of sports teams that play against each other
motive – n.the reason to do something
editor – n.one who corrects written articles or products
responder– n. one who is first on the scene of an accident
expansion– adj. growing larger
practice – v. to do something again and again in order to become better at it
odds – n. to do something again and again in order to become better at it
transplants – n.one who has moved to a new place to live
momentum – n.the strength or force that something has when it is moving