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From Youth Hockey To The LA Kings, Culver City Ice Arena’s Hans Matzel Has Seen It All

CULVER CITY ICE ARENA CLOSING: Without some kind of miracle reprieve, the Culver City Ice Arena will close for good on Feburary 2, 2014. One man, who has been a fixture there for 37 years, has not only been a big part of that rink, but he also played a significant role for the Los Angeles Kings. Part 3 in a four-part series.


Hans Matzel, owner of the AMCAN Pro Shop at Culver City Ice Arena, has been a fixture there for 37 years, and was an important, behind-the-scenes figure for the Los Angeles Kings during the years they practiced in Culver City.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES AND CULVER CITY, CA — As has previously been reported in this space, and across various Los Angeles media outlets, the Culver City Ice Arena is on its last legs, unless a miracle happens.

The property has been leased to Planet Granite, which plans to open a yoga, rock climbing and fitness facility at the site.

The rink will close on February 2, and unless the new lessee backs out of their agreement, it appears that there will no longer be an ice rink serving the hockey and figure skating communities on the Westside of the Los Angeles area.

What is not all that well known these days is that the Culver City Ice Arena plays a significant role in the history of the Los Angeles Kings, as it was their practice facility for more than twenty years, until they moved to Iceoplex in the San Fernando Valley in 1994.

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Ice At Culver City Ice Arena Was Just Half Of The Story For The LA Kings

CULVER CITY ICE ARENA CLOSING: In Part 1 of what is now a four-part series on the Culver City Ice Arena, and the years that the Los Angeles Kings called it their practice home, Frozen Royalty examined the infamous ice conditions, and how they impacted the team, along with the thoughts of three former Kings, who bemoaned the imminent demise of the facility. Part 2 looks at the other half of the equation: the dressing and training room facilities, which had just as much of an impact on the Kings as the ice did.


The front of the Culver City Ice Arena
Photo courtesy Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES — With the Culver City Ice Arena on the verge of closing its doors for good on February 2, there have been a lot of people coming out of the proverbial woodwork with their memories of the good’ol days at that rink.

A large part of the Culver City Ice Arena’s history is that it was the practice home of the Los Angeles Kings for mroe than twenty years, starting in the early 1970’s.

As detailed in the first installment of this series, the Culver City Ice Arena has always been a bare bones facility, and especially for a National Hockey League team, with the uneven ice and boards, practicing there was, to say the very least, a challenge.

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Los Angeles Kings Reminisce About Their Days At Culver City Ice Arena

CULVER CITY ICE ARENA CLOSING: With the imminent, permanent closure of the historic Culver City Ice Arena looming just a couple of weeks from now, in a three-part series, Frozen Royalty takes a look back at the old barn that was the Los Angeles Kings’ first practice facility—it was their practice home for more than twenty years.


The landmark sign outside the Culver City Ice Arena.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — On February 2, Los Angeles’ Westside will lose an icon of the hockey and figure skating communities when the Culver City Ice Arena shuts its doors for the last time.

Owners of the property have leased it to Planet Granite, which has announced plans to open an indoor rock climbing, yoga and fitness center at the location.

Supporters of the ice rink have organized to try to save it, but with a lease already signed, and with the City of Culver City having no legal authority to void the lease, or the money to purchase the property via eminent domain, prospects look less than grim for saving the rink.

That dim, almost pitch black outlook is a big disappointment to the Los Angeles Kings family, as the Culver City Ice Arena was the team’s practice facility from their earliest days to the mid-1990’s, when they moved to Iceoplex in the San Fernando Valley.

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LA Kings Honor Their Past: Retired Trainer Pete Demers Gets Stanley Cup Ring

Retired LA Kings head athletic trainer Pete Demers received a 2012 Stanley Cup Ring from
the team last week.
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Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — With National Hockey League teams opening rookie camps this week, and with training camps opening next week, the 2013-14 NHL season is just about upon us, and our focus will, of course, quickly turn to the teams and their players.

But before Frozen Royalty begins its coverage of the 2013-14 Los Angeles Kings, starting with Friday’s media day during their Rookie Camp (players are expected to be on the ice at 10:00 AM today at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California), there is one bit of news left from their 2011-12 Stanley Cup Championship to catch up on.

As many are aware, former Kings greats Marcel Dionne and Rogie Vachon each received a Stanley Cup ring from the team during the opening day festivities on January 19, 2013, at Staples Center.

As reported in this space last February, Dionne said that receiving the ring was, “…the closing chapter in my hockey life.”

Vachon said that, “…I had absolutely no idea, no clue, that it was coming. It was just incredible.”

Another Kings alumnus had to wait just a bit longer for his Stanley Cup ring, one who worked 2,632 consecutive games over 34 seasons with the Kings (37 years with the franchise), and was as deserving as anyone.

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