At one of our scrummy editorial meetings leading up to this issue, someone asked whether an upbeat Vegas Golden Knights season preview feature might be considered jarring, dissonant, or even tone-deaf appearing in the same month that marks the anniversary of the October 1 shooting. I hung up on the question for a while, mulled it, and came up with an answer: Probably, but.
But what? But lots of things. To me, the dissonance is an acceptance, and maybe affirmation, that we’re a complicated city that yins and yangs in all kinds of strange ways and, also, just that’s How Life Is. But it’s also an acknowledgment of the more specific valence between one of the most violent and tragic events in the history of Las Vegas and the improbable big magic the Vegas Golden Knights brought to the city. Sure, it’s a cliché anymore to remark upon how the Knights lifted our spirits at one of our darkest times, and, sure, it’s magical thinking to correlate their preternatural talent with the extremity of madness and terror that exploded on October 1 in some connective cosmic wah-wah. But they certainly diverted our minds and diluted the taste of a bitter year. Our hockey season preview feature — our first, obviously, and also speculatively tuned to speak to the casual fan — is on p. 56. But it’s not offered in the vein of escapism or denial: On p. 70, Heidi Kyser talks to October 1 rescuers and survivors a year later, after many have had time to reunite, rebuild, and reflect on an altered notion of what it means to be a hero.