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Los Angeles Kings’ 2011 Late-Round Draft Picks Working To Beat Long Odds

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The National Hockey League Entry Draft is one huge crapshoot in terms of teams landing prospects who will make it to the NHL level to stay, let alone big stars, even for those who are lucky enough to be first round picks.

Left wing prospect Joel Lowry spoke to the media
during the Los Angeles Kings 2011 Development Camp
at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California,
July 11-12, 2011.
Photo: Gann Matsuda

For those who end up being selected in later rounds, the odds of making it to the NHL are much, much longer. Nevertheless, every so often, they not only make it to the NHL, but they thrive there.

The most notable cases in point among Kings draft picks (not including active NHL players) would be:

  • Butch Goring, Center (fifth round, 51st overall, 1969)
  • Billy Smith, Goaltender (fifth round, 59th overall, 1970)
  • Dave Taylor, Right Wing (15th round, 210th overall, 1975)
  • Mark Hardy, Defenseman (second round, 30th overall, 1979)
  • Bernie Nicholls, Center (fourth round, 73rd overall, 1980)
  • Kevin Stevens, Left Wing (sixth round, 108th overall, 1983)
  • Luc Robitaille, Left Wing (ninth round, 171st overall, 1984)
  • Rob Blake, Defenseman (fourth round, 70th overall, 1987)
  • Alexei Zhitnik, Defenseman (fourth round, 81st overall, 1991) Read more of this post
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Frozen Royalty Audio: Interviews From The Pete Demers Series

Los Angeles Kings retired head
athletic trainer Pete Demers.
Photo: Noah Graham/Getty Images
via the Los Angeles Kings

A twelve-story series on just about any topic requires a considerable amount of source material to draw from, and that is exactly what Los Angeles Kings retired head athletic trainer Pete Demers provided for the series of stories on his 41-year career in professional hockey, 37 in the Kings organization, that was completed on July 29, 2011.

Indeed, I sat down with Demers in three separate sessions—two in late December 2010, and one in early January 2011. In the end, we talked for more than four-and-a-half hours (4:37:52, to be exact), with Demers sharing story after story, along with unique insights about hockey, and about the work of the athletic trainer that so few know about.

It was fascinating, funny, and highly entertaining.

Former Kings players and coaches also shared their thoughts about Demers, along with some stories involving him. Some are quite amusing. Read more of this post

LA Kings Retired Athletic Trainer Pete Demers Looks Back At Controversy Surrounding His 2006 Departure

FROZEN ROYALTY EXCLUSIVE: After four consecutive seasons where the Los Angeles Kings were absolutely decimated by injuries, head athletic trainer Pete Demers suddenly found himself on the outside looking in, as he was “…retained in a lesser role,” following the 2005-06 season, a move that generated criticism aimed at the franchise. In part eleven of this series on Demers’ career with the Kings and in professional hockey, he talks about leaving the job he loved so much and the controversy surrounding his departure.


Los Angeles Kings retired head athletic trainer Pete Demers, shown here behind the Kings bench at Staples Center in Los Angeles on December 17, 2005.
Photo: Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES — After a career with the Los Angeles Kings that spanned 37 years, starting with three seasons with their former American Hockey League affiliate in Springfield prior to joining the big club in 1972, head athletic trainer Pete Demers left the club after the 2005-06 season. But that came right after four straight seasons when the Kings were absolutely ravaged by injuries (see Retired LA Kings Trainer Pete Demers Recalls Record-Breaking, Injury-Filled Seasons, 2001-02 to 2005-06).

In two of those seasons, the Kings set unofficial records for man-games lost to injury, with 536 in 2002-03, a record they eclipsed in 2003-04 when they lost 629 man-games.

Those seasons were sandwiched between years when they lost 211 man-games to injury in 2001-02, and 366 in 2005-06 (the National Hockey League did not play in 2004-05 due to a labor dispute).

That is an unfathomable, mind-blowing 1,742 man-games lost to injury in just four seasons. Read more of this post

Los Angeles Kings Retired Head Athletic Trainer Pete Demers Is A King For Life

FROZEN ROYALTY EXCLUSIVE: With the Boston Bruins having won the 2011 Stanley Cup, the 2011 off-season begins in earnest, so it is time to resume Frozen Royalty’s series on the career of Los Angeles Kings retired head athletic trainer Pete Demers. In this installment, former Kings players and coaches, including Bob Pulford, Marcel Dionne, Jim Fox, Daryl Evans, Mark Hardy, and Bernie Nicholls, along with current Kings right wing Dustin Brown, share their thoughts and anecdotes about Demers. Part eight of a series.


Los Angeles Kings retired head athletic trainer Pete Demers, circa 2001.
Photo: Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES — Retired head athletic trainer Pete Demers spent 34 years in the Los Angeles Kings training room, and he quickly earned the deep respect of the players, coaches, general managers, owners, and team staff, many of whom continue to maintain friendships with him.

“[Demers] was a young guy who came into Los Angeles when I was there,” said Bob Pulford, who played on left wing for the Kings from 1970-71 to 1971-72, and was their head coach from 1972-73 through the 1975-76 season. “In those days, there was two of them [Demers and assistant athletic trainer John Holmes], and they did all the work. He was a hard working guy, and I demanded a lot from him. He learned to do the work, and he did it very well.” Read more of this post

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