— LA Kings (@LAKings) August 18, 2014
The Kings announced Monday that single-game tickets for the 2014-15 season would go on sale Sept. 12, starting at 10 a.m. Go to LAKings.com or call 888-KINGS-LA to buy tickets. The Kings’ media release stressed that the team expects to sell out each of its 41 regular-season games this season.
Tickets for the Kings’ preseason games Sept. 22 against the Arizona Coyotes and Sept. 25 against the Ducks at Staples Center went on sale Monday. Visit the team’s website or call the above number for preseason tickets.
The details for ticket sales for the Kings’ Stadium Series game against the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 21 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara will be released at a later date, the club said. Also, the Kings and Sharks open the regular season Oct. 8 at Staples Center, when the team will raise its Stanley Cup title banner.
The rafters at Staples Center will become a little more crowded this coming season with the addition of Rob Blake’s No. 4 jersey Jan. 17. The Kings announced Monday they would retire the former defenseman’s sweater in recognition of his Hall of Fame career.
Blake’s jersey will be the sixth retired by the club, joining Wayne Gretzky’s No. 99, Luc Robitaille’s 20, Dave Taylor’s 18, Marcel Dionne’s 16 and Rogie Vachon’s 30. Blake’s jersey banner will be from the silver-and-black era, the team announced.
Blake spent 14 of his 20 seasons in the NHL with the Kings and is the franchise’s all-team leader in goals, assists and games played by a defenseman. He helped the club reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 1993 and won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman in 1998.
Blake recorded 161 goals and 333 assists in 805 games with the Kings.
“It’s an honor to be included with the former great L.A. Kings players who have their jersey retired,” he said in a statement. “I have always felt L.A. was a special place to play and it was and is a tremendous privilege to put on an L.A. Kings jersey.”
The Kings traded Blake to the Colorado Avalanche in 2001 and he went on to win the Stanley Cup with his new team, drawing the ire of many of his former club’s fans. He currently serves as an assistant general manager for the Kings and often receives only tepid applause from fans.
Blake will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 17 in Toronto. He will join former players Peter Forsberg, Dominik Hasek and Mike Modano plus the late coach Pat Burns and referee Bill McCreary in the class of 2014.
Luc Robitaille will join Wayne Gretzky as the Kings’ representatives in Star Plaza in front of Staples Center next season. The defending Stanley Cup champions plan to honor Robitaille with a statue in front of their home arena, most likely as part of a ceremony honoring the former left wing and current president of business operations on March 7. The Kings also will honor former forward Tony Granato and ex-coach Barry Melrose as part of their Legends Night series. Granato will be honored Feb. 24, Melrose on Feb. 12 and Robitaille on March 7.
It worked so well once, the NHL decided to try it again. The league announced Wednesday it would stage a second outdoor game in as many years in California, with the San Jose Sharks playing host to the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings on Feb. 21 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
The Kings and Ducks played the first outdoor game in California in NHL history last season at Dodger Stadium. A sellout crowd of 54,099 watched the Kings fall to the Ducks 3-0 in a game played under clear skies with relatively warm evening temperatures last Jan. 25.
San Jose was a natural second stop for the league in its Stadium Series of outdoor games, given the rapid following of its fans. The Sharks’ rivalry with the Kings also made the decision an easy one, according to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
Perhaps the only question was whether the game would be played at AT&T Park, home of baseball’s San Francisco Giants, or at the new Levi’s Stadium, the new home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. In the end, the high-tech football stadium with 68,500 seats won out.
Levi’s Stadium hosted its first event, an MLS game, on Aug. 2.
“The growing excitement around NHL hockey in California, the intensity of last season’s playoff series between these teams and the state-of-the-art setting at Levi’s Stadium will bring a thrilling new dimension to the Kings-Sharks rivalry,” Bettman said in a statement.
The Kings and Sharks have played each other 41 times since the start of the 2010-11 season, including three playoff series, the most of any teams in that span, according to the NHL’s news release. The Kings defeated the Sharks in a seven-game series in each of the last two seasons.
“This event is a tremendous example of how our game continues to grown and evolve in the state of California and it will bring a great deal of exposure to sports fans throughout the region,” said Luc Robitaille, the Kings’ former player and current president of business operations.
“The event at Dodger Stadium in front of 54,099 fans this past January was a historic moment for the Kings and for our fans, and our players and the entire Kings organization are looking forward to another fun and exciting game, this time against our Northern California and Pacific Division rivals, the San Jose Sharks.”
A limited number of tickets will go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m., although only season ticket holders of the Sharks and Kings and Levi’s Stadium SBL Members will be able to buy them on a first-come-first-served basis. Availability for the general ticket-buying public will be made at a later date.
Tickets range from $65 to $350.
KISS played at the Kings-Ducks game last season, and although there was no immediate word on the entertainment lineup for the Sharks-Kings game, a San Jose columnist called for Neil Young, a Bay Area resident to play. Young’s father, Scott, was a renowned sports reporter in their native Canada.
Kings general manager Dean Lombardi scratched one final item off his summer to-do list Wednesday when he announced the team agreed to terms with left wing Dwight King on a new three-season contract. King, a restricted free agent, was the last of the KIngs’ unsigned players. The Kings are the only team for which King has played during his NHL career. He has 24 goals and 30 assists in 157 games with the Kings over four seasons. He helped them win Stanley Cup championships in 2012 and ’14. He set career highs with 15 goals and 15 assists in 77 games in 2013-14. In addition, he had three goals and eight assists in 26 playoff games.
The television schedule is out. The Stanley Cup champion Kings’ season-opening game against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 8 at Staples Center will be part of a doubleheader shown by our friends at NBCSN. The rest of the network’s season schedule is top-heavy with Eastern Conference games, but there are 10 sets of Wednesday doubleheaders in which the Kings, Ducks, Avalanche and other Western Conference teams will be shown to a national audience.
The Kings’ games Oct. 8 against the Sharks, Nov. 12 and March 18 against the Ducks, Jan. 21 against the Sharks and Feb. 18 against the Avalanche are part of the package.
Other games involving the Kings: Dec. 9 against the Sabres, Dec. 27, Feb. 21 and April 11 against the Sharks, Jan. 28 against the Blackhawks, March 10 against the Avalanche, March 24 against the Rangers and March 30 against the Blackhawks,
Check your local listings.
The Kings on Monday announced a change in radio stations, moving their flagship outlet to KABC AM-790 from KEIB AM-1150 starting next season. Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans will continue to provide commentary on all Kings games, but there will be a partnership between the Cumulus-owned station and the team that includes exclusive events plus digital content available for Kings fans.
The switch was first reported Sunday by the Los Angeles Times.
“We are thrilled to partner with Cumulus and TalkRadio 790 KABC as we announce this agreement,” Luc Robitaille, the Kings’ president of business operations, said in a statement. “They are a strong and viable media and broadcasting brand in our community and they have a great overall reputation as a business and in the radio industry in particular. Our combined efforts will undoubtedly broaden the reach of the Kings with our current fans and in the broader community.
“This new relationship is also another example of how the Kings’ business and brand continues to grow and evolve.”
The Kings signed right wing Adam Cracknell and left wing David Van der Gulik to one-season contracts Tuesday. Cracknell, 29, played 65 regular season games in the NHL, all with the St. Louis Blues over the last four seasons. Van der Gulik, 31, has played in 48 games in the NHL in his career while with the Colorado Avalanche and the Calgary Flames.
The Kings on Tuesday hired Mike Stothers as coach of their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H. Stothers replaces Mark Morris, whose contract was not renewed after the 2013-14 season. Stothers has coached in the junior-level Ontario Hockey League in addition to the AHL with Grand Rapids (Mich.). He also served as an assistant with the Philadelphia Flyers and Atlanta Thrashers. He worked with Michael Futa, the Kings’ vice president of hockey operations and director of player personnel, when both were with Owen Sound of the OHL.