One of the most beloved players in Vegas Golden Knights (short) history has decided to hang up his skates. Deryk Engelland has retired from playing professional hockey after 11 seasons in the NHL. He will remain with the organization as Special Assistant to the Owner, Bill Foley, who released a statement:
Deryk Engelland epitomizes what it means to be a Golden Knight. A no-ego, selfless, hardworking player who has an unwavering commitment to protecting those who are unable to protect themselves. Since he joined our organization in 2017, Deryk’s service to our community has been exemplary. On behalf of the entire Vegas Golden Knights organization, we would like to congratulate Deryk on an outstanding career. He has made an indelible mark on our city and we are excited for this next chapter, as he stays with the Golden Knights family and continues the outstanding work he has done in our community.
Engelland was never a top player in the NHL, but he had a special connection to Las Vegas that helped the franchise get off the ground immediately in 2017. Selected by the New Jersey Devils in 2000, he spent the first two seasons of his professional hockey career with the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL. After stops in Lowell, South Carolina, Hershey, Reading, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pittsburgh, and Calgary, he made it back when he was picked in the expansion draft—though he had never really left in the first place. His familiarity with the city allowed him to help the new players feel comfortable as they went to the expansion franchise, but it was his words to a packed arena on October 10, 2017 that cemented him as a Vegas legend.
Nine days earlier, just before the season started, Las Vegas had been shaken by a mass shooting that killed 58 people. Engelland stood at center ice before the first home game in franchise history and delivered a short, emotional speech.
Like all of you, I’m proud to call Las Vegas home. I met my wife here. Our kids were born here. I know how special this city is. To all the brave first responders that have worked tirelessly and courageously through this whole tragedy, we thank you. To all the families and friends of the victims, we’ll do everything we can to help you and our city heal. We are Vegas Strong.
At 4:18 of the first period, Engelland scored the second goal on home ice in Golden Knights history. It was just the 23rd of his career.