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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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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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