It's a moment which won't soon be forgotten and in many ways embodies not only who Deryk Engelland is but what the Vegas Golden Knights strive to be.
Engelland isn't about himself. He's selfless and committed to helping those around him both as a hockey player and a citizen of Las Vegas.
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When he skated to center ice and took the microphone on opening night in Vegas less than two weeks after the October 1 shootings, Engelland strayed from his comfort zone. He felt a message needed to be sent and he felt he needed to be the one to deliver it. It was concise, genuine and authentic. It hit home and lifted those who needed it most. It was Deryk Engelland.
Video: Engelland gives rousing speech to hometown fans
"Like all of you, I'm proud to call Las Vegas home. I met my wife here, my kids were born here, and I know how special this city is," Engelland said to the crowd at T-Mobile and to all Las Vegans. "To all the brave first responders who have worked timelessly and courageously throughout this whole tragedy, we thank you. To the families and friends of the victims, know that we'll do everything we can to help you and our city heal. We are Vegas Strong."
Vegas has no captain but rather six alternates of which Engelland is one. The veteran defenseman asked the organization if he could speak that night and it was one of the most compelling moments of this upstart season.
But Engelland has been going above the call of duty for his entire career. Blocking shots and fighting opponents who try to bully his teammates. He's made Vegas his off-season home for 14 years and was the first of his teammates to have boots on the ground this summer following the expansion draft. He aided his teammates with their transition to a new NHL city and has continued to be key among the leadership group.
On Monday, Golden Knights GM George McPhee signed Engelland to a one-year, $1.5 million contract extension. The 35-year-old has three goals and 13 assists this season and is four points shy of equaling his career high.
"Deryk has been an integral part of our team, on and off the ice, from the very beginning," General Manager George McPhee said. "We selected him in the Expansion Draft because we knew he was a quality player with great character. He's one of our team leaders and is enjoying a great season. Deryk has been a longtime Las Vegas resident and his work in the community is exemplary. We are excited to have him a part of the Vegas Golden Knights organization through the 2018-19 season."
Video: ARI@VGK: Engelland hammers one-timer past Raanta
Engelland has been paired with prospect Shea Theodore and has been influential in growing the 21-year-old's game.
"Deryk has been great for me. He talks to me out there, he keeps things calm and he knows the game so well. It's been a great partnernship for me," Theodore recently said.
Engelland was happy to discuss the news on Monday.
"I'm super excited," he said. "For me to be able to play another year here at home, that's a dream come true. It's been amazing, the summer was a whirlwind with everything that was going on and stuff. Settling in with the guys here. We've got a great group and that goes a long way, right from the top down. I'm excited to be here, to be a part of this team for another year with the guys. When George first wanted to discuss and extension, I was excited. That's your goal going into the season. Especially on a UFA year, to get something done sooner rather than later. I'm getting a little older now and to be able to stay here at home and play another year, that's your whole goal going into the season and I couldn't be more happy."
Engelland had lots invested in the Golden Knights from the moment his name was called at the expansion draft. The opportunity to play hockey in the community he considers his home wasn't insignificant to him. He wanted to be part of it and he wanted it to succeed.
"Yeah, I think right from the get-go we gelled together as a team," he said. "We've got a lot of character in that room, great leaders, great young guys coming up. Every night when we're playing, we're 20 men deep and everyone's going. If someone's not contributing, someone's picking up the slack. It's a team effort, it's been fun and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season and beyond here."
Video: CAR@VGK: Engelland nets snipe to get Knights on board
Along with 13 points in 41 games this season, Engelland has blocked 83 shots this season. In nine NHL seasons, he has recorded 99 points (25 G, 74 A) to go with 516 penalty minutes in 510 games with the Golden Knights, Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins.