LOS ANGELES — Anyone with dreams of hitting the ice with Los Angeles Kings greats Luc Robitaille, Bernie Nicholls, Butch Goring, Marty McSorley and other Kings alumni can have those dreams come true and start the New Year off right, helping those in need, by participating in the Los Angeles Kings Fantasy Camp (for adults 18 or older only), scheduled for January 14-16, 2010, at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California and Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles.
Robitaille, the highest scoring left wing in National Hockey League history who won the Stanley Cup in 2007, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 9, 2009. He currently serves as the Kings President/Business Operations.
Nicholls, who scored a Kings season record seventy goals and finished second on the club with a career high 150 points in the 1988-89 season, ranks fifth all-time in Kings career scoring with 758 points (327 goals, 431 assists for 758 points) in 602 games.
Goring, one of the first fan favorites here in Los Angeles, was virtually unstoppable on breakaways and went on to win four consecutive Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders during their dynasty years (1979-80 to 1982-83).
McSorley, who played in 472 games with the Kings, is the all-time franchise leader in penalty minutes (1,846) and ranks fifth all-time with Kings in points recorded by a defenseman.
No matter what your skill level might be, lacing up the skates with these Kings alumni will be a huge thrill for any hockey fan and, more importantly, with much of the proceeds benefitting the Kings Care Foundation, participants will be making a significant contribution towards various community and charitable organizations.
Indeed, the Kings, through their Kings Care Foundation, have supported a myriad of worthy causes including A Place Called Home, American Red Cross, Chinatown Service Center, Habitat For Humanity, Midnight Mission, Pacific Asian Consortium In Employment, Plaza de la Raza, Special Olympics, Toys For Tots, and many more.
Despite all that, few people who follow the Kings have a good idea of where the money the Kings Care Foundation collects ends up and what it does once it gets to deserving recipients.
Perhaps the most visible example of an organization supported by the Kings and the Kings Care Foundation is Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), a non-profit, academic, pediatric medical center that provides quality health care for over 93,000 children annually who are the sickest and most seriously injured in the Los Angeles area, and beyond, according to a statement on their web site.
Of all the local professional sports teams, the Kings have made the deepest commitment to CHLA, beyond their annual delivery of toys to patients during the holiday season.
“We have the [Los Angeles] Dodgers come in, the Kings come in, the [Los Angeles] Clippers come in and every once in a while the [Los Angeles] Lakers come in,” said Keith Hobbs, Vice President for Ancillary and Support Services for CHLA. “But the Kings go above and beyond the normal visit.”
“They will be part of our telethon every year where several of their staff, the players and some of the folks from the Kings Care Foundation will actually come in and answer the phones,” added Hobbs. “We’ve got several of the players and family members involved in a program called Holidays From The Hearts where people will adopt families. Every year, they come in and participate by sponsoring several families and bringing gifts for them.”
“It’s example after example after example where they get themselves more intimately involved than just making a donation or making a commitment for a donation. At each level, whether it’s families [of patients], or staff, or leadership, the Kings have found a way, either through the Kings themselves or the Kings Care Foundation, to partner with CHLA.”
And back in August, during the LA Kings HockeyFest 09, the Kings and the Kings Care Foundation made their biggest commitment of all—a $500,000 donation benefitting CHLA’s Blood Donor Center.
The donation will be used to support the “LA Kings BloodMobile,” a blood drive supply truck that will increase the much-needed collection of blood for the most seriously ill and injured children at CHLA.
According to a statement released by the Kings, “the LA Kings BloodMobile will travel to blood drives alongside the hospital’s MaxMobile, and serve as a “moving billboard” for the Blood Donor Program. Together, these two vehicles will enhance the Blood Program’s ability to collect donations throughout Southern California at schools, businesses, houses of worship, and municipal organizations. As a result, thousands of children diagnosed with cancers and severe blood conditions, or who require surgery will receive the transfusions necessary to combat their life-threatening diseases.”
“Once you’ve stepped inside Children’s Hospital and you’ve met the kids and the parents and the staff, you know you have to be involved,” said Robitaille, the Kings President/Business Operations. “This is a great opportunity for us to raise awareness about the Blood Donor Center and make an impact on a lot of kids.”
“35-40 percent of the transfusions are for our cancer patients,” said Hobbs. “The Blood Donor Center gets that blood, whether they have family or friends come into the hospital, or when we have blood drives out in the community, that’s the vehicle to bring that blood in for those patients who need it the most.”
CHLA’s Blood Donor Center allows the hospital to collect 90-95 percent of the blood they need for their patients, rather than rely on outside sources.
“It’s the vehicle that brings in blood so that we’re not relying on external sources for that blood and for when it’s not available,” Hobbs explained. “Through our current program and the growth of our program with the commitment from the Kings, we’re currently in the low 90’s [percent] as far as our self-reliance [is concerned].”
Hobbs emphasized that the LA Kings BloodMobile is already making a huge, positive impact on CHLA’s Blood Donor program.
“The Kings Care Foundation’s commitment for $500,000—they’ve made a payment already and they’ll make payments over the next five years—if you want to take a snapshot of where we’ve come from to where we want to be, it used to be that somebody had to come to the hospital to donate blood,” said Hobbs. “Staff started to dream about how they would get out there in the community.”
“We wanted to expand,” added Hobbs. “We have the MaxMobile, a motor home that’s a blood donor center on wheels, where we go out in the community. We needed a vehicle that would go alongside it. Sometimes, when we couldn’t get the motor home to a facility, we needed this truck to go along with it, where we could bring tables and blood supplies so we could take donations.”
“The Kings helped finish that truck with the first part of their donation. That vehicle is enabling us to go places where the larger vehicle cannot go and sometimes go alongside the larger vehicle for donations in the community.”
Support from the Kings will also help CHLA handle the ever-increasing need for blood, now and in the future.
“Moving forward, the hospital is going to be opening a new building in a little over a year,” Hobbs noted. “We’ll be going up to 317 beds, and we’re looking at the possibility of keeping some of our existing beds. The need for blood is going to be even greater.”
“The resources coming in down the line from [the Kings] commitment will allow us to buy additional phresis equipment [to help increase their capacity to collect platelets], collection systems and systems for people to sign up online for an appointment to donate blood. This will really help us keep pace moving forward.”
To be sure, CHLA is just one of many worthy organizations supported by the Kings and their Kings Care Foundation. Participating in the LA Kings Fantasy Camp certainly is a way to make a major contribution and make some hockey dreams come true at the same time.
Frozen Royalty by Gann Matsuda is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. You may copy, distribute and/or transmit any story or audio content published on this site under the terms of this license, but only if proper attribution is indicated. The full name of the author and a link back to the original article on this site are required. Photographs, graphic images, and other content not specified are subject to additional restrictions. Additional information is available at: Frozen Royalty – Licensing and Copyright Information.