October 14th, 1967. The Los Angeles Kings play their first game ever, at the Long Beach Sports Arena, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2. June 11th, 2012. The Los Angeles Kings play Game 6 in the Stanley Cup Final, defeating the New Jersey Devils 6-1. Two victories separated by 45 years. Think about that for a second, from a fan’s perspective. Think about all those years in-between. All those years spent on a few great teams and a lot of not so great teams; spent on the fleeting promise of glory and the near-constant, bitter taste of defeat – time and time again. All those years spent waiting…waiting for a chance to watch the team you live and die by lift hockey’s most coveted trophy – the holy grail of the sport – and now, for the Kings franchise and their fans, that wait is over.
This is a piece for and about Kings fans. Real Kings fans. Not the bandwagon fans. Not the fans that started to pay attention once something interesting happened. This is a piece about the Fans that have waited those 45 years for a chance to say that their team is unequivocally the best in the sport, and that they’ve got a big, shiny piece of hardware to prove it. Fans who remember the Triple Crown line and the Miracle on Manchester. Fans who know, off the top of their head, that that Luc Robitaille scored 668 goals over the course of his illustrious (and largely LA-based) career, good for 1st all time among Left Wingers. Fans who remember an LA Kings team before Wayne Gretzky made hockey sexy in Southern California. Fans who still shudder whenever the spectre of Marty McSorley’s illegal stick is dredged up. Fans like my friends Mike and Brian Fletcher.