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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

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Luc Robitaille: The King Of Kings – Part Two

The following is part two of an updated story written for the Online Kingdom back on April 14, 2006, a few days after Los Angeles Kings left wing Luc Robitaille announced his retirement as a player. It is being re-published in honor of his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 9, 2009. To read part one on FrozenRoyalty.net, click on Luc Robitaille: The King Of Kings – Part One.


Robitaille The Leader

I’ve always admired people who were gifted with the quality of leadership, and when leadership and raw athletic ability are found together in one person, it’s a rare combination to be sure. I think that one of the things that I appreciate most about Luc is that not only does he possess this combination, but that it is manifested in him in a unique way. Luc brings a contagious passion to the rink every day and to everything he does. I found that being around that kind of passion and desire made the game even more enjoyable for me and challenged me to give to my full capacity.
— Former Kings tough guy Stu Grimson
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Luc Robitaille: The King Of Kings – Part One

The following is an updated story written for the Online Kingdom back on April 14, 2006, a few days after Los Angeles Kings left wing Luc Robitaille announced his retirement as a player. It is being re-published in honor of Robitaille’s induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 9, 2009. To read part two, click on Luc Robitaille: The King Of Kings – Part Two.


EL SEGUNDO, CA — Back on April 3, 1995, the night that all-time Los Angeles Kings great Dave Taylor had his jersey number 18 retired by the club, this reporter wrote that he was the King of Kings, earning that right above other all-time Kings’ greats such as Marcel Dionne, Rogie Vachon and Wayne Gretzky.

“No Kings’ player had ever measured up to Taylor when it came to heart, the desire to excel and win and the ability and willingness to go into the corners and sacrifice his body for his team,” I wrote. “No other Kings’ player has ever come close to Taylor as far as leadership—on the ice and off—is concerned, [and] no Kings’ player has ever matched his relentless work ethic, his dedication to his team, the game of hockey and his community.”

To be sure, Taylor had earned the right to wear the crown as the King of Kings, and was a great standard bearer for the organization, both on and off the ice. But on Tuesday, April 11, 2006, the day that Kings all-time great left wing Luc Robitaille announced at a press conference that he would retire at the conclusion of the 2005-06 season, Taylor immediately abdicated the crown because his reign is over. Robitaille now wears the crown as new Kings of Kings. Read more of this post

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