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Hockey In Southern California Would Be A Shell Of Its Current Self Without Dr. Jerry Buss

The 1985-86 Los Angeles Kings. Dr. Jerry Buss, who
owned the team, is seated at center.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo courtesy Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES — As has been reported across the Los Angeles area, Dr. Jerry Buss, owner of the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers, died on February 18, due to complications of cancer, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Buss was 80 years old.

“Dr. Buss was our partner, our mentor and our friend,” said President and Chief Executive Officer of the Anschutz Entertainment Group Tim Leiweke, who also serves as Governor of the Los Angeles Kings. “He was kind enough to allow us into his world, and much of the success we enjoyed at Staples Center and LA Live is directly attributed to him. I do not believe we will ever find anyone quite like him. Our prayers and thoughts are with Jeanie and the entire Buss family.”

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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

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

Lombardi’s Rebuilding Plan Making Unexpected Progress

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – PART 3: Frozen Royalty is back with Part 3 from an exclusive interview with Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi. In this, the third and final installment, Lombardi discusses the Kings’ player development and evaluation infrastructure and the progress made in his rebuilding plan. And in case you missed parts one and two, you can read them here. Part 1: Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi Excited About Defense and Part 2: Lombardi Talks About Goaltending, Top Defenseman Prospects.


LOS ANGELES — For long-time fans of the Los Angeles Kings, the wait has been interminable.

Aside from one run to the Stanley Cup Finals led by Wayne Gretzky in 1992-93, the Kings have been a big disappointment, qualifying for the playoffs just twenty-two times in their forty-plus seasons in the National Hockey League but advancing past the second round just once.

To be sure, that is a rather dismal record filled with mediocrity.

A big reason for that long history of mostly lousy hockey has been their propensity for trading away first round draft picks for way-over-the-hill NHL stars who gave the Kings next to nothing. Meanwhile, the traded away draft picks were used to select future NHL stars such as defenseman Raymond Bourque, to name just one out of way too many who went on to lead their teams to great success, including a number of Stanley Cup championships. Read more of this post

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