Long before the Vegas Golden Knights were a blip on the radar, Deryk Engelland and his family became synonymous with the Las Vegas community.
After two seasons of successful hockey in the desert, Engelland is back on a one-year deal with the Golden Knights. As one of the leaders in the locker room, Engelland, 37, helped establish the culture of what it means to be a Golden Knight and he wants to perpetuate that mantra as he continues his journey.
"I think I still have a few good years left," Engelland said. "I'm taking it one year at a time, I'll see how the body feels after this year and take it from there."
The question of whether or not to return to the Golden Knights was one Engelland gave little thought to. Engelland noted there was always confidence between him and the organization that he would be back in gold for the 2019-20 season even when he became an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and other teams came calling.
"I had full confidence in myself and the team to get a deal done that worked for both sides," Engelland said. "At the end of the day, this is where I want to be. I want to play here, I want to win here and I want to help out big-picture."
Engelland has skated in 153 games during two seasons with Vegas and has solidified a role within the team that played a part in signing a new contract. Ever the prominent penalty-killer, Engelland's sense on the ice has allowed him to keep his average time on ice near the 20:00 mark.
What he's learned about professional hockey since signing his first professional contract 16 years ago has shaped the type of leader that he is. Engelland has been looked to for guidance during the last two seasons but expects to see that role elevated in 2019-20 as the team expects to see young faces on the ice and in the locker room.
"We've been pretty fortunate in staying healthy on the back end the last two seasons, so we haven't had a lot of opportunity those young guys to come up and show what they have" he said. "It starts in camp to help them out and give them a hand. A little bit of advice here and there always helps."
The time Engelland spent in Las Vegas before NHL hockey arrived gave him a sense of the city's character and he's enjoyed seeing his teammates embrace what their new home has to offer.
"As athletes, it doesn't matter where you play, you always want to get out and give back," said Engelland. "When all the guys came here, they were a bit skeptical about the city, but it goes to show that guys are still here in the offseason."
As Engelland works with teammates and staff at City National Arena to prepare for his 11th NHL season, he shares the team and fanbase's excitement to open the season with two consecutive games against the San Jose Sharks. He sees it as the perfect first step on a journey centered around winning a championship.
"That's a great way to start the season and get you going," Engelland said. "They're our biggest rival in the league so far and there's no better way to start than with a home and home."