In a city that lives and breathes Hollywood glitz and obsesses over the exploits of Matt Kemp, Kobe Bryant and the job status of Mike Brown, the Kings have often played second—and in some cases—third fiddle to the de-facto pro football team in the USC Trojans—and most recently the Chris Paul-led Los Angeles Clippers.
Despite a proud history that goes back to 1967 and filled with Hall-of-Famers such as Marcel Dionne, Luc Robitaille and Wayne Gretzky, the Kings would see their younger local rivals 45 miles away in Orange County raise Lord Stanley’s Cup and see their spot in the SoCal sports totem pole be surpassed by the likes of Albert Pujols.
Not even the most casual Kings fan would remember the Barry Melrose-coached Gretzky-led team that would defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1993 Campbell—now Western—Conference Finals and truly introduce Stanley Cup final hockey to the L.A. sports scene.
Make no mistake, Los Angeles is not a hockey city by any stretch, as “The City Of Angels” loves it’s Dodgers, Lakers and Trojans—and even the UCLA Bruins—but thanks to the King’s 15-2 run of dominance in the Stanley Cup that may change.
Will it change?
That depends, but when I last remembered seeing the likes of 90210 bad girl Shannon Doherty in the stands at the Great Western Forum during the Kings Stanley Cup series against the Montreal Canadiens, it was a sign.
You now have Kobe giving away his Game 4 tickets and local fans rediscovering their love of ice hockey once more from Brentwood to Newport Beach proudly sporting their silver-and-black Kings sweaters.
Hollywood has even hopped on the Kings bandwagon in the form of Emmy-nominated actor Cuba Gooding Jr, Pamela Anderson, Entourage’s Kevin “E” Connolly and Matthew Perry being spotted at the Staples Center.
Sports is all about building your brand and establishing a clear identity, if the Kings are to go on a bring the Stanley Cup to Hollywood, can you imagine the ratings boost and exposure that the NHL would get if Brad Pitt’s kids are spotted wearing Kings gear?
For a city that has no NFL team and is dominated by the Lakers, Lord Stanley in Hollywood would be the closest thing to a perfect ending—for both Los Angeles and the NHL.
Except out in Anaheim.
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