Deryk Engelland began his playing career in Las Vegas, and it ends in Las Vegas.
The 38-year-old defenseman, and one of the original Vegas Golden Knights selected from the expansion draft, has retired after an 11-season career in the NHL.
Engelland will stay with the organization as a special assistant to owner Bill Foley within the Golden Knights Foundation. He will address the media this afternoon to make it official.
“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,” Foley said in a statement.
The arc of Engelland’s hockey story is a rarity; a full-circle moment, if you will. A sixth-round pick by the New Jersey Devils in 2000, Engelland’s playing career began in the ECHL with the Las Vegas Wranglers. He only spent two seasons with the Wranglers, but it’s where his life was established. He met his wife Melissa in Las Vegas; they raised their two sons, Cash and Talon, in Southern Nevada.
Even through a long, grinding career that didn’t see Engelland reach the NHL level until 10 years after he was drafted, Engelland remained in Las Vegas. He played five seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins then three with the Calgary Flames before he coming home. The Golden Knights selected him in the 2017 expansion draft and Engelland immediately became the unofficial ambassador for the league’s newest team.
That ambassador title became a staple for Engelland in Vegas’ inaugural season. The Route 91 festival shooting that saw 60 people dead took place nine days before the Golden Knights played their first home game at T-Mobile Arena. Engelland gave the impassioned “We are Vegas Strong” speech prior to their meeting against the Arizona Coyotes; Engelland scored the second goal of the game in a 5-2 win for Vegas.
Engelland’s work in the Las Vegas community also took an evolved form, starting the likes of Engo’s Heroes that honored first responders and those who lost their lives from the shooting. It was also his initiative that had the Golden Knights honor a first responder or survivor during every home game.
Engelland scored an NHL career-high 23 points in the storybook Vegas season that ended in making the Stanley Cup Final. He was the recipient of the Mark Messier Leadership Award, given “to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season.”
Engelland’s playing role lessened last season, playing 49 games while spending most of the second half as a healthy scratch to make room for a youth movement on the blue line. General manager Kelly McCrimmon came to Engelland before the trade deadline asking if he wanted to be moved. Engelland stayed to not just remain with the organization, but serve as a mentor for the younger players while the Golden Knights were in the return-to-play bubble in Edmonton.
The Las Vegas native scored 41 points (eight goals, 33 assists) in 202 games with the Golden Knights. Engelland retires after 671 games, 127 points and 579 penalty minutes.