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There were also questions about adding a franchise in a city known for legal sports betting, something sports leagues including the NHL have long avoided. Bettman said hockey betting wasn’t as popular as football betting, so the threat of players losing games was minimal.

“We don’t worry about the integrity of our game,” Bettman said.

Apparently, Bettman should have invested some money in the team before he stepped on the ice for the first time. The Knights seemingly overcame every obstacle that came their way in their inaugural season. They sold more than 14,000 season tickets before the team even had a name. The team moved to T-Mobile Arena, which was already open on the Strip.

But after the team’s final preseason game, a gunman at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, about a mile south of the arena, opened fire during a nearby concert, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds. The team’s players, who were scheduled to appear at a public rally the next day, became a galvanizing force in the city. They fanned out throughout the community, thanking police officers, donating blood and donating tens of thousands of dollars to help victims, their families and emergency medical workers.

Their response endeared them to the stunned and grieving residents of the city. And, incredibly, the Knights had an epic run. Led by three-time Stanley Cup champion Marc-André Fleury in goal, the team started the season with a 500-1 long-range shooting record to win the Stanley Cup. Still, they racked up 109 points and a .622 winning percentage in the regular season, both league records for a first-season team by wide margins. They swept through the first three rounds of the playoffs, beating the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets, and won Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Washington Capitals. The team lost the next four games and the series, but made an impact like no other.

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