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Tears From The Hockey Gods, Not Raindrops, Are Falling On Southern California

Graig Woodburn, who loved to play hockey,
is shown here on the ice at Fenway Park prior
to the 2010 Winter Classic that featured the
Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins.
Photo: Graig Woodburn

LOS ANGELES — For most people here in Southern California, the region has been drenched by rain the past few days. But if you are involved with the Los Angeles Kings or Anaheim Ducks, either as part of the teams, a member of the media, or as fan, make no mistake…those drops are not from rain.

No, not rain at all. Rather, the dark clouds reflect sadness and the drops falling from the sky are tears, as the hockey gods, at least, the ones who watch over the Kings and Ducks, are crying.

Graig Woodburn, 50, died on December 19, after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. He covered the Kings and Ducks for the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Associated Press and The Sporting News until a couple of seasons ago, and most recently, he moved to Boston to cover the Boston Bruins for WEEI.com during the 2009-10 season, and to be closer to his family.

 

His last assignment for WEEI.com was to cover the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft here in Los Angeles last June, when the Bruins had the second overall pick (Tyler Seguin).

The Bruins public relations department will dedicate Woodburn’s press box seat at Boston’s TD Garden to him for the rest of the season.

Woodburn was also an attorney here in the Los Angeles area, specializing in consumer protection and class action law.

There is a better than average chance that if you follow the Kings and/or Ducks, you may not be familiar with Graig’s work. After all, he did not work for the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, or any of the MediaNews Group newspapers, such as the Daily News or Long Beach Press Telegram, all of whom have had beat writers covering the local NHL teams in recent years.

But Graig was right there in the trenches, surprisingly, more often than you might think, given the fact that he was a practicing attorney. But he was often at practices and could always be found at games.

The last time I saw Graig was at a media luncheon where the top ten projected picks in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft were made available for interviews on June 24, 2010, here in Los Angeles. I had the great fortune to sit down to a nice lunch with him, along with colleague Brian Kennedy, who covers the Kings and Ducks for Inside Hockey.

We spent about 45 minutes just shooting the breeze, talking about the Kings and his work covering the Bruins. Graig was his usual positive, upbeat self, joking around and enjoying his work and his life, even though he knew he was fighting the biggest battle of his life.

Graig was always the consummate professional with great integrity, he knew his hockey, and all that showed in his work. Moreover, he was not the kind of journalist who was unwilling to share his knowledge and experience with less experienced writers, nor was he the type who was so wrapped up in himself and his own work that he could not treat others with respect and dignity, or just be genuinely friendly.

That’s the Graig Woodburn that I deeply appreciated and will always remember.

Related stories:
Hockey Writer Graig Woodburn Passes Away – WEEI.com
Graig Woodburn, Hockey Writer, Was 50 – LA Observed
Sturm To Make Kings Debut, Richardson Moves To First Line, And Farewell To A Fellow ScribeLos Angeles Times
Today’s Notebook, And Other Notes – LAKingsInsider.com
Forsberg Gets Six Points In A Game; And Farewell To A Hockey Scribe I Never KnewDenver Post


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14 Responses to Tears From The Hockey Gods, Not Raindrops, Are Falling On Southern California

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Tears From The Hockey Gods, Not Raindrops, Are Falling On Southern California « Frozen Royalty -- Topsy.com

  2. David Lassen says:

    Thanks for posting this, Gann. Graig was a terrific guy as well as a dedicated hockey writer. I’ll miss him both personally and professionally.

    • Len Simon says:

      Thanks for the nice tribute to Graig. I worked with him years ago in a law firm in San Diego. In fact, I think I hired him, but things get fuzzy that far back. He was a good lawyer but a truly inspired hockey writer, and I was happy that he got back into the sport he loved. He would call me from time to time for legal advice, and I would call him from time to time for hockey tickets. He will be missed.

  3. Mindy Berman says:

    Very good tribute. Such a tragic loss.

  4. Betty Riot says:

    So sad, may he rest in peace.

  5. Dominick says:

    Nice article Gann. For those of us who didn’t know him personally, it’s nice to see he was respected by his peers.

  6. Chris Wassel says:

    very sad….just so sad

  7. Dr. Mark Cymerint says:

    I played hockey for several seasons with Graig. He was a great teammate and great friend. Graig got me into the last game when the Ducks won the Cup. At the last minute, Graig called me with standing room tix at face value. The Ducks won the Cup that night..was one of the biggest thrills of my life. i will never forget you and your friendship and kindness. I’m shocked and you will be missed. Luv ya.

    Dr. Mark Cymerint, Chiropractor, Laguna Hills, and i speak for all the guys on our team.

  8. Pingback: Frozen Royalty: Tears From The Hockey Gods, Not Raindrops, Are Falling On Southern California @ LA Kings Hockey Club Podcast

  9. Ben says:

    Graig was generous, incredibly smart, humble, hard-working, appreciative, kind, talented and loyal. The world lost a great human.

  10. Manny Piceno says:

    I’ve known and played hockey with Graig for a few years. I have fantastic memories of him as a hockey player, a professional and person. While he hasn’t been able to play with us for the last two or three seasons, but he was never absent in our locker room and our prayers.

    Sorry to seem him go so early.

  11. Kallie Heaton says:

    So very sad and felt by the So Cal extended hockey family. An unfortunate loss at such a young age. I wish his family strength through this difficult time.

  12. Jim Alexander says:

    Thank you for this tribute. Graig was truly one of the good guys.

  13. Richard says:

    I knew Graig through his work as an attorney. He was one of the good guys. Thank you for this tribute. I linked it to my twitter page: twitter.com/nblaw

    Best regards,
    Richard

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