LA Kings: It May Not Be About Dean Lombardi Now, But At One Time, It Was

COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS: How much truth is there behind Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi’s claim that, “…it ain’t me,” when discussing his role in his team winning two Stanley Cup Championships in the last three seasons? One look at the Kings’ team culture, which extends well beyond the dressing room, and has become just as important as the talent level of the team, will provide much of the answer. Final installment of a three-part series.


LA Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi, shown here addressing the crowd at their 2014 Stanley Cup Championship rally at Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 16, 2014.
(click to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty..net

EL SEGUNDO AND LOS ANGELES, CA — It didn’t take Dean Lombardi very long after his arrival in Southern California to lay out his plan for building the Los Angeles Kings into a perennial Stanley Cup contender. But what would probably surprise many, as reported in Part 2 of this series, acquiring high-end, skilled players was not at the top of the to-do list, even though that would have to happen at some point.

Instead, Lombardi stressed that his team would be built by drafting young players and taking the time to develop them—their skills and their character—in the minor leagues. He would build a team in which, as he said when he was hired on April 21, 2006, “…every one of them who puts on a Kings jersey, no matter where they go, feels ‘once a King, always a King.’”

As the Kings fought their way through the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, overcoming adversity became a common theme. Indeed, they had to claw and scratch their way back from a 3-0 series deficit in the opening round against San Jose to win that series, 4-3. They won three seven-game series in which they faced elimination, and they came back from two-goal deficits to win games time after time after time.

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Culver City Ice Arena Declared A Significant “City Cultural Resource”

The front of the Culver City Ice Arena
Photo courtesy Los Angeles Kings

CULVER CITY, CA — In a surprise move, on July 28, the City Council of the City of Culver City unanimously declared the Culver City Ice Arena to be a City Cultural Resource at the “Significant” level.

As reported in this space on July 25, the declaration prevents the property owner, Michael Karagozian, from demolishing, removing or altering the exterior appearance of the building, “…in whole or in part, without first obtaining a Certificate of Appropriateness or a Certificate of Exemption.”

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City of Culver City Must Declare Culver City Ice Arena As A Significant City Cultural Resource

COMMENTARY: Some thoughts on the latest developments surrounding the former practice home of the Los Angeles Kings, the now defunct Culver City Ice Arena.


The landmark sign outside the Culver City Ice Arena.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

CULVER CITY, CA — Nearly six months after it closed its doors for the last time in its most recent incarnation on February 2, the Culver City Ice Arena is still in limbo.

Today, the only signs of life at the rink, if you can call it that, are automobiles parked in its lot, which was rented to a nearby auto dealer for storage of its inventory.

Indeed, the building is dark, the ice melted away months ago. Despite that, the rink is still “breathing,” as owner Michael Karagozian cannot do anything with the building, other than operate an ice rink, due to zoning restrictions on the property.

The latest development is that on July 28, the City Council of the City of Culver City will consider declaring the property a City Cultural Resource, which, depending on the classification, could prevent the property owner from demolishing, removing or altering the exterior appearance of the building, “…in whole or in part, without first obtaining a Certificate of Appropriateness or a Certificate of Exemption.”

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Teamwork, Ingenuity, And A Little Engineering Helped Retired LA Kings RW Glen Murray To Skate Again

Former LA Kings right wing Glen Murray was unable to skate after he
retired from the National Hockey League in 2008, due to injury.
But he made his triumphant return to the ice last summer, and
what it took to get him back on skates was a minor feat of
engineering, with some ingenuity and heart thrown in as well.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo courtesy Los Angeles Kings

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Year after year, game after game, body check after body check, those of us who watch the game of hockey often think about all the money National Hockey League players earn, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at.

By the same token, they also pay a high price due to injuries, and all too frequently, they are career-ending, and often debilitating after a player retires.

If you talk to NHL athletic trainers, they can all tell horror stories about how players often retire with fingers, toes and limbs that are bent in ways they aren’t meant to be, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg regarding the injuries and maladies hockey players often have to live with after retirement.

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Open Letter To Culver City City Council on Culver City Ice Arena

The following is an open letter that was sent to members of the City Council, City of Culver City (this one was addressed to the Mayor), regarding the property where the Culver City Ice Arena operated (the former practice home of the Los Angeles Kings; they closed on February 2). A new lessee, Planet Granite, wants to build a rock climbing, yoga and fitness center in that location.

As a long-time resident of Culver City, California, I felt compelled to let the City Council here know that a new, state-of-the-art ice rink in that location, and everything that comes with it, is what’s best for Culver City.

UPDATED: February 20, 2014. Now includes video of public comment period during City Council meeting, City of Culver City, February 10, 2014, when supporters of the Culver City Ice Arena addressed the City Council, including Los Angeles Kings radio color commentator Daryl Evans, and yours truly.


The landmark sign outside the Culver City Ice Arena.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

Honorable Jeffrey Cooper
Mayor, City of Culver City
9770 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232-2703

Dear Mayor Cooper:

As you are aware, the Culver City Ice Arena has ceased operations, with a new lessee, Planet Granite, expected to takeover the property with the purpose of building a yoga, rock climbing and fitness center.

As you must also be aware, City staff has discovered a zoning variance granted to the owners of the property that dictates that an ice rink is the only approved business that can be operated at that site. If I am reading the document correctly, the existence of this variance indicates that for the property to be used for any other purpose, another zoning variance would have to be granted, or the property would have to be re-zoned.

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