This is the story of the Vegas Golden Knights.
This is the story of how the right people placed in the right environment can bring to life the stuff of legends.
And this story, perhaps the most unbelievable in the history of professional sports, is happening right now.
The Vegas Knights is a team of misfits. An expansion team brought together for the 2018 Hockey season to become the most successful first-year franchise in the history of the NHL. In fact, they are the only team of the 64 expansion teams in the four major US sports leagues since 1960 to debut with a winning season.
A team no one expected to win, the Knights began the season with 200 to 1 odds against them winning the Stanley Cup (the longest odds against in the NHL). And yet, already having defeated two teams in the playoffs, are headed next week to the Western Conference Final.
What is the secret of their success? The magic behind their meteoric rise? I would argue that in this instance excalibur isn’t a magical sword but an environment created by the right combination of people. That, in the right environment, supported by the right people, ordinary people become legends.
What else can explain the difference between William Karlsson’s abilities this year compared to previous years?
Karlsson is the Knight who was previously discarded by two teams in his first three seasons. The Knight who last year scored just 6 goals. The Knight who averaged a career shooting percentage of just 7.7 percent.
This year, on a different team, supported by different people, surrounded by a different environment, William “Wild Bill” Karlsson has stacked 43 goals with a 23 percent shooting percentage. A record breaking, history making performance that is so far and above what he has previously shown to be capable of there is little logic to explain it.
What else can explain the redemption of Marc-Andre Fluery?
Fluery is the knight who shined in 2009 as Goalie for the Pittsburg Penguins but has been lackluster ever since. The knight who was demoted to a backup goalie. The knight who benched last year after a four goal disaster and would not take the net again before being dropped by the Penguins.
This year, with the support of the Vegas Golden Knights, the 33-year old veteran Marc-Andre Fluery finished the season with a career best performance including a regular season save percentage of .927.
“I just want to win games and contribute to the success of the team. If I help them, help the team get wins, that’s all that matters to me.” -Fleury
Excalibur, may be a legend, but the Vegas Knights have found that the right people can create an environment of success that is nothing short of magic.
If we want to transform like Karlsson that we too may reach our full potential we too need the right people in our line. To surround ourselves with people who support us and help us to reach our goals.
If we want to get back on top like Fluery we need to focus on our contribution to the success of the team, to constantly ask what can we do to help the team, to put the team’s success at the forefront of our thought.
If we want to be our best selves we need to surround ourselves with the right people, and help to create an environment where everyone can be successful. This is the magical combination. This is the stuff legends are made of.