Robitaille’s reaction

On a busy day, Luc Robitaille was gracious enough to take a couple minutes and talk about his Hall of Fame induction today. Robitaille got the congratulatory call this morning from Pat Quinn, who is co-chair of the 18-person selection committee.

“Mostly it was just relief,” Robitaille said. “When I got the call, I was relieved. I saw the 416 (Toronto area code) come up and I just felt relieved. I figured that if they were calling me, it wasn’t going to be bad news. … I have always thought of myself as a King. This is where I started and this is where I always wanted to end. The fans of L.A., it feels like I grew up with them. For everyone who was there with me in 1986, until the end, they know how much this means to me and to the Kings.”

I asked Robitaille, who obviously had been anticipating this day for a while, when it first truly occurred to him that he might become a Hall of Famer.

“I remember the year after I retired I thought, `Is it three years or five years that you have to wait?”’ Robitaille said with a laugh. “People always said, `Oh, your numbers are good enough,’ but I didn’t think about it a lot. Last year, someone said to me, `Next year’s class is going to be great, with Stevie (Yzerman), Brett (Hull), yourself and Brian Leetch. I guess that’s when it really started to hit me, but I didn’t know if it would happen.”

Also, I asked Robitaille to re-tell one of my favorite hockey stories, which is about the day he got drafted in 1984 at the Montreal Forum, in the ninth round, after he sat in the stands all day waiting for his name to be called.

“I had one hot dog every hour,” Robitaille said with a laugh. “I think I ended up eating six hot dogs. That was the year, if you remember, that Mario (Lemieux) said he wasn’t signing with the Penguins. We got to draft day, a Saturday, and it was a big deal because they called Mario’s name and he didn’t go to the draft table or anything. There was a delay, and it was like Pittsburgh didn’t know what to do and the league didn’t know what to do. So I sat and waited. It was 7 o’clock at night and I was still waiting in the Forum, up in the white seats. When I heard my name, I ran downstairs. The security guy, he didn’t want to let me on the floor, but I told him that I just got drafted.

“I got to the Kings’ table and there were just a couple guys left there. Rogie (Vachon) was there and (former assistant GM) John Wolf was there and a couple scouts. They had me write down my name and address on a card. When we got to August, and I hadn’t heard anything from them, I was afraid that I wrote down the wrong address. So anyway, I met those guys at the table, and I met John Wolf and he said, `We don’t really have anything to give you, but here,’ and he gave me the Kings pin off his jacket. I took the subway home and I was just so excited.”

A bit later, I’ll post a couple videos, courtesy of the Kings. Here are a couple more comments from Robitaille, as released by the Kings, plus one from Tim Leiweke:

“What I am feeling right now is very difficult to explain,” said Robitaille. “I never set out to accomplish anything like this. When I was a kid, I dreamed of playing in the National Hockey League, and to now be alongside greats like Rocket Richard, Guy Lafleur and Wayne Gretzky is not only indescribable, it is beyond anything I ever dreamed of.

“I also want to congratulate Steve, Brett and Brian, three players I was fortunate to have played with during my career.”

“This is a tremendous achievement for Luc, his family and the entire Kings organization,” said Kings Governor Tim Leiweke. “We have always been honored to have the greatest left winger represent our franchise and our fans, and we are thrilled to now share Luc with the Hockey Hall of Fame.”

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  • Cynic

    Once again, a great human being. Your humility speaks volumes Luc. Congradulations and thanks for making it feel good to be a Kings fan.

  • WWAMD

    Congrats Luc, I will be at the induction and whomever is going from LA, after party at my house!!!!! I got a place about an 45 mins from the HHOF.

    I never knew that story bout Mario…interesting!!

  • variable

    i never get tired hearing that story, rich…!

    it’s a classic…and gives us even more hope that even in the late rounds of a draft, you can still find an amazing person and a future hall of famer…
    i know it’s not very likely, making luuuuuuc’s ascension even that much more appreciated….but, as they say, that’s why we draft’em and that’s why they play the games…

    once again, luc…congratulations…
    what an honor to go in with those other players…!!!

  • Matt R

    What an honor for those other players to go in with him!

  • stevebone

    Congrats Luccccccc, What a class to be in. I agree with all four choices. Thanks for all the memories, I remember the goal Luc scored while sliding across the ice on his stomach. It was a joy to watch you all these years. You are a true “KING”.

  • number 6

    Dear Luc, you show such humility and grace. Would you mind though if I blame you for losing my patience with the prima donnas in sports? You set such a gorgeous example of what it means to set high standards not only on the field of play but as a human being that, the way certain people out there do it, it sort of pales in comparison.
    WELL DONE LUC!!! We are so fortunate to have had someone like you wear the Kings sweater for so many years.

  • Prince

    Congratulations Luc, to you and your family. A very well deserved honor.

  • HawKings

    Congratulations LUUUUUUC!
    You are everything that is good about the great sport of hockey. A true class act and inspiration that is not only a Hockey Hall of Famer but a Hall of Famer in life.

  • Lilly

    I love him so!!!

    Congrats Luc, there was never a doubt in my mind!

  • billanthony

    Cool story about Luc’s draft day. Thanks

  • http://www.johnegarrett.com Garrett

    Love me some Luc! Interesting story, true…. I promise. I was in Islands in LA (local restaurant) and I see look walk in and head to the bathroom. I was sitting with some friends and got really excited. I’d met Luc 2 times before at the Forum in LA and he was always great.

    Anyway, he comes out and I yell, “Luc… what’s going on?!” He says, “I just got traded to f’ing Detroit!” I said, “Oh man… I”m so sorry.” He apologized (he’d just got of the phone from finding out) and signed my cup place holder thingy.

    He was always a King and love that he is still playing a major role.

    Congrats to the highest scoring LW in the game.

    Also got in a fight (me) in Tampa and made Sports Center thanks to Luc scoring on a breakaway a few years back.

    Great memories.

  • JonG

    Great stories, Rich. Reading them reminds me of why I love Luc so much.

    Always a King . . .

  • Buck

    All time favorite King EVER. Thanks Luc and congratulations!

  • Daniel

    Garret – are you sure you are remembering that correctly? Luc sign with Detroit as a free agent in the 2001 off-season. The only time he was traded from LA was to Pittsburg after the 1994 season.

    Regardless, Luc was the reason I became a Kings fan. Back when all my friends were talking about Gretzky in Edmonton, I would chime in with, “What about that guy in LA?”

    When I moved back to LA after college, I lived in Westwood and would bump into Luc at the local Baja Fresh and Starbucks every once and a while. He was always so happy, positive and nice to the customers and the staff. Total class. Love him!

  • Brian M

    Congratulations Luc, It couldn’t happen to a better person. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting you several times. My son Sean attended Kings camp for several years and had his picture taken with you which is still sitting where we can enjoy it. Sean went on to assist with the Kids at Kings camp and always said what a great person you were to everyone. You are an example of a GREAT hockey player and even BETTER human being. You truly deserve this and as Kings fans we are extremely proud of you. Brian McAfee

  • old time hockey

    As a life long Kings fan: Thank you, Luc…