EXCLUSIVE: The tale of most amazing inaugural season for an expansion team in U.S. pro sports played out like a Hollywood movie, and now there’s a feature documentary about it. Sterling Productions, Osmosis Films and NHL Original Productions have teamed to produce Valiant, the story of the 2017-18 Vegas Golden Knights’ head-shaking run to the Stanley Cup Final. Watch the trailer above.
Directed by Cruz Angeles, the film chronicles the relationship that developed between the Golden Knights and its desert community as the first major-league pro franchise in Las Vegas. It follows the story from the awarding of the franchise in 2016 through the expansion draft that landed future Hall of Fame goalie Marc-Andre Fleury — a three-time Stanley Cup champion –and the NHL Draft. Valiant also chronicles the ghastly mass shooting days before Opening Night and the subsequent transformation of the team and the city of during the course of its historic first season.
“The 2017-18 Vegas Golden Knights were the unforgettable Cinderella story of the NHL season,” said Steve Mayer, NHL Chief Content Office and EVP. “The Golden Knights forever cemented their place in the hearts of the residents of Las Vegas and captured the imagination of the rest of the hockey world not only with their historic performance on the ice but also their commitment to unifying their community in the face of tragedy.”
That tragedy, of course, was the unimaginable horror of a man firing a near-automatic rifle from the Mandalay Bay Hotel at a field where thousands of country music fans were enjoying the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Fifty-eight people were killed and more than 850 were wounded, nearly half of them by gunfire.
There was uncertainty as the team was to begin its inaugural campaign that week, with the home opener just nine days after the October 1 attack. Doubt turned to joy as the team exploded out of the gate, winning its first three games and eight of its first nine, and went on to win the Pacific Division, sweep the Los Angeles Kings in its first playoff series and ride the wave to the Final before falling to Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
“There is so much more to the city of Las Vegas than what most people know,” said Golden Knights Chairman and CEO Bill Foley. “Beyond the bright lights of the Strip is a strong, tight-knit, hard-working community of over 2 million people who are proud to call Las Vegas home. … Valiant tells the entire story of our team’s special connection with our great city.”
The league is shopping for distribution on Valiant as the Golden Knights begin their second NHL postseason. Going into tonight’s action in Vegas, they lead the San Jose Sharks two games to one in the opening-round series.