FROZEN ROYALTY EXCLUSIVE: The Los Angeles Kings have four of the best broadcasters in the business, and, in this series, Frozen Royalty got their reactions to the Kings winning the Stanley Cup, the prized trophy’s travels around the world, fan reaction to it, how the Kings won it all last season, and much, much more. First installment in a series.
EL SEGUNDO, CA — Almost three months have passed since the Los Angeles Kings won the first Stanley Cup Championship in the 45-year history of the franchise, but the celebration continues unabated, with the trophy traveling all over the world with Kings players, coaches, team and front office staff.
Celebrating right along with everyone else in the organization are the Kings broadcasters, each having a long history of their own with the franchise.
The Voice of the Kings, television play-by-play announcer Bob Miller, leads the way, having just completed his 39th year behind the microphone with the Kings. Radio play-by-play announcer Nick Nickson is not far behind with 31 years calling the action.
With this story, Frozen Royalty begins a series that will look at four of the best broadcasters in the business, Miller, Nickson, television color commentator and former Kings right wing Jim Fox, along with radio color commentator and former Kings left wing Daryl Evans. The series will focus on their thoughts about the Kings winning the Stanley Cup, now that they have had some time to let the whole experience sink in, reaction to the Cup as it has traveled the world with the Kings, their thoughts on how the Kings managed to finally reach the Promised Land, Miller and Fox being forced out of the broadcast booth after the first round of the playoffs, and more.
First up is Daryl Evans, who, as a player, is best known for scoring the overtime game-winning goal in the Miracle On Manchester.
Indeed, on April 10, 1982, at the Forum in Inglewood, California [the Kings’ first permanent home arena], the Kings found themselves looking up at a 5-0 deficit after two periods against the Wayne Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers in Game 3 of their first round playoff series. But the Kings came roaring back to score five straight goals in the third period, and then won it at 2:35 of overtime on Evans’ one-time blast off a face-off in the right circle, beating Oilers netminder Grant Fuhr over his right shoulder.
For 45 years, what remains as the greatest comeback in Stanley Cup Playoffs history was the greatest moment in Kings history…
…until June 11, 2012, that is, the night they won the Stanley Cup, defeating the New Jersey Devils, 6-1, winning the series in six games.
As such, one of my first questions for Evans, intended mostly as a joke, was, “how does it feel to have the Miracle On Manchester become the second greatest moment in Kings franchise history?”
Evans, who just completed his 13th season as the Kings’ radio color commentator, chuckled a bit before noting the obvious: As great as the Miracle On Manchester was, it does not compare to winning the Stanley Cup.
“As a player, we always dream about the Stanley Cup,” said Evans, who spoke exclusively with Frozen Royalty. “That’s what it’s all about. Individual events, like the Miracle on Manchester, those are remembered in different ways. The Stanley Cup—from being a kid, it’s something that you dreamed about.”
“I remember coming here, to Los Angeles, [in the 1981-82 season],” added Evans, who scored 22 goals and added thirty assists for 52 points in 113 National Hockey League regular season games with the Kings, Washington Capitals, and Toronto Maple Leafs, along with five goals and eight assists for 13 points in ten career NHL playoff games (all with the Kings). “At that time, we hadn’t won it yet, either. You always want to be part of the first one. That makes it real special.”
Although he has been retired from his career as a player for 21 years, the 51-year-old native of Toronto, Canada, got his wish on that fateful night last June, and like every Kings player, and every Kings fan who was watching Game 6 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, Evans was anxiously awaiting the final horn.
“In this case, it’s not like you’re in an overtime game, and, all of a sudden, [it’s over],” he explained. “You kinda know. We had a comfortable five-goal lead, but you never want to say it’s enough. But when you look at the energy that filled the building, for the last few minutes, with people standing, and the last couple of goals putting the exclamation [point] on things, it was reality. It was going to happen. It was just a matter of the clock ticking away.”
“I had one earphone on my ear, but the other one, I pulled back so I could hear the crowd, and I was listening to Nick’s call,” he elaborated. “I could just feel it in my body. I could feel the goose bumps. It was an unbelievable time.”
Just don’t ask Evans what he said on the radio broadcast at the end of the game.
“People [ask], ‘what did you say when it happened?’ But I don’t think I said anything, because Nick was making the call,” said Evans. “I don’t remember what my first words were. I’m going to have to listen to the tape to hear what I said.”
Anyone who listened to the Kings radio broadcast of Game 6, or watched any of the highlight packages aired on the various television shows covering the game, or anyone who has watched the 2012 Stanley Cup Final commemorative DVD, has heard Nickson’s call at the end of the game.
The long wait is over! After 45 years, the Kings can wear their crown! The Los Angeles Kings have won the Stanley Cup!
“It was Nick’s moment,” Evans noted. “All announcers want to make that [call], and he did an outstanding job. It’s like he had it rehearsed, but I know he didn’t. It came out of him so naturally.”
“Just to listen to him saying the words that he was saying, and now it was reality that we were Stanley Cup Champions, and like I said, the energy in the building—I had goose bumps,” Evans added. “You kind of got a lump in your throat. It was a time I’ll never forget.”
Minutes later, along with so many others, Evans watched Kings captain Dustin Brown hoist the Stanley Cup.
“That was unbelievable,” said Evans. “Having watched that scenario so many times over the years, even when it’s happened with other organizations, you just know how special that is, and you can sense it, having been a player.”
“You know that’s the ultimate goal,” added Evans. “To see your own organization do it, I was so happy for the organization, and the team that’s in place right now. Dustin Brown—these guys have put in a lot of time, a lot of hard work, a lot of bumps and bruises over the course of the years.”
“It was also our first championship, ever, and again, the energy in the building, and it followed the club through those last couple of months, reflecting back on the people who met us at the airport, all the fanfests on the street, it was everybody celebrating. I know when Dustin Brown had that trophy over his head, it probably seemed like it was a feather, but it was like he lifted a city over his head. Just looking at that, and all the pictures that were taken, it’s like it’s frozen in time. Those are images that will never leave you.”
Speaking of unforgettable images, the Kings were honored during a championship parade in Downtown Los Angeles on June 14, along with a celebration at Staples Center that followed.
Evans was aboard one of the double-decker buses that carried the players, coaches, team officials and staff, their families, Kings alumni, and others, traveling south on Figueroa Street for several blocks before turning west on Chick Hearn Court (11th Street), in front of Staples Center and LA Live.
“Having looked at parades [as a spectator], the energy was unbelievable,” Evans beamed. “Words can’t [begin to] describe [my feelings]. Looking at the masses of people, and the different levels of the buildings they were at, some were on the street, others were two stories up, three stories up. Some were on balconies. Just seeing everybody, and, all of a sudden, with [all those] people there, it’s amazing how many faces you’re able to identify with, people who were there [last] season, or years in the past. For a [moment], everyone is frozen there, in a split second. They catch your eye, you catch their eye.”
“It seemed like the parade went so fast,” Evans added. “It’s one of those things you want to last forever. We could’ve gone from one end of California to the other. It was really unbelievable, and then there was the grand finale, coming back into Staples Center, and the way the fans, and everyone, conducted themselves. It was a proud moment to say you were a King.”
Evans indicated that those who have been part of the Kings family, past and present, all share in what the team accomplished last season.
That includes former players.
“[Center] Derek Armstrong was in,” said Evans. “He worked our Kings Camp with us, and we see others around the rink. [Goalie] Jamie Storr, [right wing] Glen Murray, and [defenseman] Rob Blake. A couple of those guys were around when the Kings got beat in seven games by Colorado [back in 2002]. Then you realize how far away you still are, so they can really appreciate what this group accomplished.”
“Even guys going further back…I think everyone really appreciates—again, being a King, and is proud to be a King,” added Evans. “Not everybody gets that luxury, the honor of hoisting the Cup as a player. I still think that having been part of the organization, 500-plus players, for the most part, each one of those individuals will be proud, and they’ll feel, in some way, that they’re a Stanley Cup Champion.”
Evans also stressed that it is not just the players.
“Everybody played a part—players who played here before me, fans, people who work in the office, everybody’s got a part in it in their own way,” he emphasized. “I think that’s something everyone has to understand. This trophy, winning the Stanley Cup, for this organization, the way it was done, that’s why so many people feel they were a part of it, that it’s their trophy, [too], not just the 25 players, along with the coaches. They feel that they share in it.”
“We all know the players win it, but everybody’s got a little bit of a pull on it.”
Evans also stressed that winning the Stanley Cup gives the Kings greater credibility across the NHL.
“It’s a big part of the way everyone looks at the organization,” Evans emphasized. “They’ve drawn a lot of respect. Being a West Coast team, you’ve got a little bit more of a challenge than the teams back east. This gives you credibility.”
Then there is the added stature here in the Los Angeles area.
“In this marketplace, in a city that’s been spoiled with the Lakers, Dodgers, Angels, the football teams, there’s an expectation there, so that’s why it’s important for the Kings to have now taken that step,” said Evans. “After crossing paths with management and people from other [sports teams] in this city, they have a lot of respect for what the Kings have accomplished, and they’ve embraced the Kings into that circle of now being a champion.”
Since the parade and celebration in June, the Stanley Cup has been all over the world, with Kings players, coaches and others, and it has traveled throughout Southern California, attracting hundreds of fans at every stop.
“The guys have done lots of interesting things with it, from a players’ standpoint,” he added. “I know the broadcasters who’ve had it to this point have really enjoyed it. It’s been great being part of their events, and I’m looking forward to actually having it myself.”
Fans have followed the Stanley Cup, with tremendous interest, on its journey around the world via social media, not to mention seeing how large numbers of fans have shown up everywhere the trophy has gone in Southern California, hoping to see the Stanley Cup, and to take a photograph with it.
“It’s been great, the way the fans have responded towards it,” Evans noted. “I think a lot of it has to do with [the fact that the Kings] have had such a following for so many years here that everybody really does feel part of it.”
“A lot of people are unique in how long they have followed this team, so it’s very rewarding for them as well,” Evans added. “Any time you get a chance to be in the audience of the Cup, I think it’s very special for them.”
A big reason that fans are so glued to where the Stanley Cup is at the moment, and what people are doing with it, is that photographs and video from each stop have been posted on Facebook and Twitter, often within hours, and sometimes, within minutes.
“[The Stanley Cup] is very magnetic, and I think the reason why it took the Kings so long to win the Cup was that they were waiting for this type of technology,” Evans joked. “When you look at that, technology has enhanced everything. But the Stanley Cup is a very interesting trophy.”
“Talking to people here in California, over the years of being here, watching the different sports, the Stanley Cup is a special trophy,” Evans added. “It’s got a very unique look to it. Its size is very attracting, and the people who have been around it, in any type of closeness, they really learn to appreciate it, and, like I said, it is so magnetic that wherever it’s gone, whether it’s been our group of players this year, or players in the past who’ve won it, it draws an unbelievable crowd, and all kinds of attention.”
Evans’ time with the trophy—he does not get a full day—is coming up later this month.
“I get a period time with it, coming up in the middle of September,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed looking and hearing about all the stories of individuals having it, and having attended some of those events myself, it just makes everything that much more special.”
Evans’ plans have not been finalized. Nevertheless, his family and friends will be a big part of it.
“I’m still finalizing plans,” said Evans. “I had a couple of ideas that weren’t able to come to fruition, but I’ve got some family who are going to fly in from Canada. My Mom and Dad, and my brother and sister are going to come, some cousins, I’ve got a lot of friends in the area.”
“It’ll be nice being able to share it,” added Evans. “My children [daughter, Danielle, and son, D.J.] will have some of their friends there, so it’ll be good.”
As the trophy continues to make its way around the Los Angeles area, and the rest of the world, something else has not stopped since June…the buzz about the Stanley Cup, and about the Kings winning it for the first time.
“It’s really been an amazing summer, one that you dream about, having played, but not having being involved in the game [as a player] for so long,” Evans beamed. “You always dream, and you want to be that team that plays in the middle of June, and the Kings, this year, were able to accomplish that, and win the Cup.”
“It’s been a magical year,” added Evans. “It seems like summer has gone by so quick. It’s been great, just listening to people talk about what the Kings accomplished this past year, and over the past few years, having it all come to fruition.”
“To actually hoist the Cup—it’s something that you’ll remember for a lot of years.”
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