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November 13, 2018

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Golden Knights’ Neal thanks fans, teammates for time in Las Vegas

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Trevor Hagan/The Canadian Press via AP

Vegas Golden Knights’ James Neal (18), Deryk Engelland (5), goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) and the rest of the team celebrate after defeating the Winnipeg Jets during NHL Western Conference Finals, game 5, in Winnipeg, Sunday, May 20, 2018.

Golden Knights forward James Neal is leaving Las Vegas after signing a five-year, $28.75 million deal with the Calgary Flames, but not without thanking the fans.

Neal posted a photo on Instagram on Thursday with a caption thanking Las Vegas and Golden Knights fans for the last year.

“Vegas... thank you!” Neal wrote in the post. “To my trainers, coaches and management, I can’t thank you enough. To this amazing fan base... thank you for your passion and support. Most of all I want to thank my teammates for an unforgettable season. I will miss this incredible town and will always cherish the Inaugural season with the #GoldenMisfits. We will always be #VegasStrong.”

The photo accompanying the message is one of Neal and his teammates celebrating with the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl in the Winnipeg locker room after winning the Western Conference Final.

Neal played a large role in the Golden Knights’ inaugural season, starting with the first goal in franchise history Oct. 6, 2017, in Dallas. Neal then scored the first game-winning goal in franchise history later that night, lifting a puck from his knees into the top corner of the net to give Vegas the unlikely win and kick start the surprise season.

The 30-year-old winger finished fourth on the team with 25 goals and registered five goals and six assists in the playoffs.

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