Here’s the link to all you need to know about the unveiling of Luc Robitaille’s statue March 7 at Staples Center: http://kings.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=755315&cmpid=rss-News
The Ontario Reign will announce their new logo and colors for their inaugural 2015-16 season in the American Hockey League during a ceremony at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Citizen’s Business Bank Arena. Luc Robitaille, the Kings’ vice president of business operations, and Rob Blake, the team’s assistant general manager, are scheduled to attend the ceremony, as is David Andrews, the AHL president. Reign president Darren Abbott also will be on hand.
The American Hockey League’s California migration became official Thursday. The Kings will shift their top minor-league team from Manchester, N.H., to Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario and the Ducks will move theirs from Norfolk, Va., to Valley View Casino Center in San Diego.
The AHL will create a new Pacific Division for five teams in the NHL’s seven-team Pacific Division for 2015-16, offering the clubs greater access to their top prospects while cutting costs and travel time and also enhancing marketing opportunities.
In addition to the Kings and Ducks, the Sharks will move their top affiliate from Worcester, Mass., to the SAP Center in San Jose, the Calgary Flames will move their team from Glens Falls, N.Y., to Stockton and the Edmonton Oilers will move their team from Oklahoma City to Bakersfield.
Two other teams in the Pacific Division, the Arizona Coyotes and the Vancouver Canucks, will keep their affiliates in Portland, Me., and Utica, N.Y., respectively, for the time being. It’s possible they could join the westward migration at a later date.
The moves were announced during a press conference in San Jose, where the Sharks’ minor-league team is expected to make its temporary home while another site is selected. Fresno and Sacramento are the cities rumored to be the permanent location.
“To borrow a word from the recently retired Teemu Selanne, it’s an unbelievable day for California hockey, for Anaheim and the organization and the city of San Diego,” Ducks general manager Bob Murray said. “This is a dream come true.”
Luc Robitaille, Kings president of business operations, praised the spirit of cooperation among the five teams to get the deal presented and approved by the AHL during its board of governors meetings over the weekend.
“It was a true team effort,” Robitaille said. “For the growth of hockey, it’s a tremendous thing for California. Five (AHL) teams will be playing on the West Coast now. Fans can see players who are one phone call away from the NHL now. It’s going to be a lot of fun now.”
The Kings said they would announce further details Friday.
The Reign, which will play out its ECHL season in Ontario, will move to Manchester, N.H., for next season.
The Kings issued some remarkably nice comments about former coach Pat Quinn, who died Sunday at 71. There’s no faulting their intentions, but Luc Robitaille, Jim Fox and Bob Miller had nothing but kind words for Quinn. It’s important to note that Quinn bailed on the Kings while coaching the team to sign a deal to become the Vancouver Canucks’ team president and general manager. The NHL suspended him from coaching the Kings or working for the Canucks for three years starting in 1987. It did little, in the end, to harm Quinn’s mighty reputation, but it was another black eye for the Kings. So it was more than a little surprising to read all the nice things about Quinn in prepared statements from Robitaille, Fox and Miller.
Said Robitaille: “He was a great man for the game of hockey and a person who commanded a lot of respect. He was my first NHL coach and he made quite an impression on me as I was breaking into the league and learning the game.”
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.
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.”
Kings executive and all-around face of the franchise Luc Robitaille was named Wednesday to the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee, one of four new members. Robitialle, who joined the Hall in 2009 after a stellar playing career with the Kings, joined Philadelphia Flyers exec Bobby Clarke (enshrined in 1987) and former Montreal Canadiens standout Serge Savard (enshrined in 1986) as the newest members of the selection committee. In addition, Columbus Blue Jackets exec John Davidson was appointed as the committee chairman. Here’s the link: http://www.hhof.com/htmlNewsPromo/news.shtml#NewSelCom
NHL teams had 170 chances to select left wing Luc Robitaille in the 1984 draft. The Kings passed on him eight times before taking him in the ninth round (171st overall), which probably makes Robitaille the greatest late-round pick in league history. He went on to become the all-time leading scorer in NHL history for a left wing. Oh by the way, the Kings’ fourth-round selection in 1984? Tom Glavine, a center whose career path took him in a different. Glavine became an All-Star pitcher for the Atlanta Braves.
Hey, buddy, wanna buy a Kings Stanley Cup championship ring?
It’s for a worthy cause.
One of a limited number of Stanley Cup rings is available for auction through April 22 at CharityBuzz.com, with the proceeds going to two of the Kings’ charitable partners, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and City Year Los Angeles.