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Wayne Gretzky’s Arrival Changes Everything For LA Kings And Retired Trainer Pete Demers

FROZEN ROYALTY EXCLUSIVE: Retired Los Angeles Kings head athletic trainer Pete Demers has seen more than most after a 41-year career in professional hockey that includes 37 years in the Los Angeles Kings’ organization, three with their minor league affiliate in Springfield, and 34 with the Kings. During the vast majority of those years, Demers had to suffer, along with everyone else, from a lot of mediocre, or worse, hockey. But everything changed, almost overnight, on August 9, 1988, when Wayne Gretzky arrived in Los Angeles to stay. Part six of a series.


Los Angeles Kings head athletic trainer emeritus Pete Demers (left) with
The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, who scored his record-setting
802nd NHL goal on March 23, 2009.
Photo: Demers Family Collection

LOS ANGELES — During his career with the Los Angeles Kings, retired head athletic trainer Pete Demers toiled long hours, starting early in the morning, and often working into the wee hours of the following morning.

Demers spent 34 years with the franchise, and for the vast majority of his career, the team had little success.

“Over the years, it has been frustrating and disheartening, whatever you want to call it,” said Demers. “Every guy who walks though [the dressing room] door puts his heart and soul into it, and then it doesn’t happen, whether we just didn’t have the talent, some stuff was missing, who knows.” Read more of this post

LA Kings Retired Trainer Pete Demers Dealt With Much More Than Injuries To Players

FROZEN ROYALTY EXCLUSIVE: In part five of an exclusive series based on an extensive interview with Los Angeles Kings head athletic trainer emeritus Pete Demers, Frozen Royalty takes a look at the most visible aspect of his job, caring for injured players…and trainers are definitely not immune from injury or illness, either…


Los Angeles Kings head athletic trainer
emeritus Pete Demers, circa 1982.
Photo: Demers Family Collection

LOS ANGELES — For athletic trainers in the National Hockey League, their most important job is to treat injured players and help them recover from their injuries, and in a 34-year career with the Los Angeles Kings, retired head athletic trainer Pete Demers has probably treated more injuries and illnesses than any of his colleagues, past or present, and not just those suffered by players.

To be sure, caring for injured players is the one aspect of the athletic trainer’s duties that is the most visible, and for Demers, it was no different. Like other trainers, he was most noticeable whenever he jumped over the boards and scurried out onto the ice to care for an injured player.

Even before he made it to the NHL, Demers already had experience dealing with serious injuries. Read more of this post

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LA Kings Trainer Emeritus Pete Demers On The Evolution of Treatment, Strength And Conditioning

FROZEN ROYALTY EXCLUSIVE: In part three of a multi-part series of stories featuring the career experiences of the Los Angeles Kings’ long-time, now retired, athletic trainer Peter Demers, Frozen Royalty takes a close look at a few of Demers’ memories from his early years with the Kings, along with the evolution of how injuries are treated and how much the emphasis on strength and conditioning has changed over the years.


Los Angeles Kings retired head athletic trainer Pete Demers (1970's photo).
Photo: Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES — Back in the 1970’s when Pete Demers began his 34-year career as the head athletic trainer for the Los Angeles Kings, a career that would see him work in 2,632 consecutive games, as previously reported (see LA Kings Retired Trainer Pete Demers Had To Be A Jack Of All Trades), Demers and assistant athletic trainer John Holmes did the work of the athletic trainers, the equipment managers, the strength and conditioning coaches and the massage therapists that National Hockey League teams have today.

Demers, who retired in 2006, has vivid memories of years past, and even remembers his first road trip with the Kings.

“We went to Pittsburgh on a five or six-game trip,” he reminisced. “That was just a small trip. We’d go on the road for 16 days. We had two or three of those a year.”

Read more of this post

Still A Kid At Heart, Bernie Nicholls Reflects On His Time With The LA Kings

Bernie Nicholls
Photo: LA Kings

LOS ANGELES — As they have done with so much of their very best homegrown talent over their 42-year history, the Los Angeles Kings traded away prolific goal scorer Bernie Nicholls, but not before he left his mark on the ice at the Forum in Inglewood, California, the Kings’ home arena during his tenure with the team.

The 6-1, 185-pound native of Haliburton, Ontario was selected by the Kings in the fourth round (73rd overall) of the 1980 National Hockey League Entry Draft. After his final season (1980-81) with the Kingston Canadians of the Ontario Hockey League when he scored 63 goals and added 89 assists for 152 points in 65 games, he found himself with the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, the New Haven Nighthawks, to start the 1981-82 campaign.

In 55 games at New Haven, Nicholls lit up the AHL, scoring 41 goals and tallying thirty assists for 71 points, and was called up to the Kings to finish the season. Read more of this post

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