LOS ANGELES — Until June 2012, if you wanted to win the Stanley Cup and you played for the Los Angeles Kings, you had to go elsewhere to achieve that dream.
Indeed, former Kings players. including Rob Blake, Steve Duchesne, Butch Goring, Larry Murphy, Sean O’Donnell, Luc Robitaille, and Darryl Sydor are among those who toiled for years in a Kings jersey, only to leave to play for other National Hockey League teams and win at least one Stanley Cup Championship.
As alluded to earlier, the Kings finally won the Stanley Cup in 2012, their first in what was then the 45-year history of the franchise, and they would win it all again in 2014. But once again, another former Kings great has won the Stanley Cup after leaving the organization. That Kings legend is none other than Dave Taylor, who starred for the Kings on right wing from 1977-78 to 1993-94. He also served as their general manager from April 22, 1997 to April 18, 2006.
Taylor, who is best known as a member of the famed Triple Crown Line with Marcel Dionne and Charlie Simmer and ranks second on the team’s all-time games played list (1,111 games) after having his record broken by Dustin Brown last season. Now 63 years old, Taylor currently serves as Vice President of Hockey Operations for the St. Louis Blues, who won the Stanley Cup in June.
Indeed, after 42 years in professional hockey, Taylor will finally get his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. He recalled what it was like during Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins.
“It was pretty exciting,” he said. “We went up, 4-0, and then the Bruins came right back and scored to make it 4-1. That set us back on our heels, a little bit. We were upstairs—myself, other management people, scouts. But once it started to wind down to two or three minutes left, we got really excited.”
Once he got out of the press elevator and onto the ice to join the celebration, Taylor relished the elation of the moment.
“It was just a lot of joy, I was really happy,” he recalled. “I’ve been in the game for 42 years at the professional level. I made it to the Stanley Cup Final as a player with the Kings in 1993, but this is the culmination of all the work and it’s what you dream about.”
Although they weren’t with him at the time, Taylor was able to share the celebration with his wife, Beth and one of his daughters.
“I didn’t have any family members there for Game 7,” he said. “But when the celebration was going on and during the presentation of the Cup, you see different people’s wives, girlfriends, and kids. It was just a great time for the entire Blues organization.”
“When I was down on the ice, I called my wife and daughter—they were together at home in California,” he added. “They were watching, so they were pretty excited about the whole thing. They’ve been with me every step of the way. My daughters are 35 and 32 now. They’ve grown up as hockey fans. They’ve been around the game their whole lives.”
In case you weren’t aware, once a team wins the Stanley Cup, players, coaches, front office staff and others get to spend a day with the Cup. Taylor got his day with hockey’s Holy Grail on July 11, when he took the Cup to his hometown of Levack, Ontario, not too far from Sudbury.
It didn’t take long for Taylor and the Stanley Cup to get noticed after it arrived at Sudbury Airport.
“We pulled the Cup out at the airport in Sudbury,” he said. “[Keeper of the Cup] Mike Bolt said, ‘I don’t think we could get away with this in Toronto, but we might get away with it here.’ About ten people were walking by and they came flying over to take pictures with the Cup. That was pretty cool.”
After leaving Sudbury, Taylor had one important stop to make before taking the Stanley Cup home to Levack.
“My brother and I picked Mike up at the Sudbury Airport,” he said. “We live about 35 miles from there. When I was in college, I worked underground, in the mine. Levack is a mining town, so we drove up to the mine and stopped at the gate. We took the Cup out and took pictures with the head frame of the mine behind me. I actually worked at the Levack mine (nickel and copper) after my first year of college, the summer of 1974, so that’s a pretty cool picture.”
No advertising or media coverage was needed for the local community to find out that the Stanley Cup was in town.
“We didn’t announce that the Cup was coming at least, not on the radio,” Taylor noted. “It was via word-of-mouth to a lot of close friends and family members. We had it at the arena in my hometown of Levack. We had a couple hundred real good friends and family there.”
“A couple days before the Cup was going to be there, we sent e-mails out to the minor hockey association in that area and to the elementary school there, telling them that they were welcome to come for a public viewing,” Taylor added. “We had the Cup at the arena for about five hours. I would guess that we had 800 to 1,000 people come through and get pictures taken with it. That was a lot of fun.”
Taylor took a lot of pride in sharing the Stanley Cup with the people in his hometown.
“We had a lot of kids at the arena,” he said. “Most of the friends who I grew up with, they were there with their grandchildren, so I met a lot of grandchildren on July 11. It was really cool to see all the really young kids get the opportunity to see the Cup and take a picture with it. That was a lot fun for me and pretty special for our community, too.”
After sharing the Stanley Cup with the local community, Taylor was on his way back to Sudbury. But first, there was a quick, but important stop.
“After leaving the arena, we were on the way to my sister’s house and that’s when we stopped to take a picture with the Cup at the Levack sign,” he noted. “Three cars stopped there—those people wanted to take a picture with the Cup, too.”
“After the time at the arena, we went to my sister’s house,” he added. “She lives in the Sudbury area. We had dinner there with my family and close friends, and again, we took a lot of pictures with the Cup. Everybody had a chance to take a sip out of the Cup and we got pictures of that.”
Taylor pointed out that sharing the Stanley Cup with his family and close friends was a way to thank them for the support they’ve given him from his youth hockey days.
“That’s probably the most unique thing about hockey,” he observed. “You get your day with the Cup and I started playing hockey when I was five years old. That’s the journey my family has been on. They went to my games when I was in youth hockey. They went to my games when I was in college. They got out to L.A. for games, or they’d go to Toronto or Buffalo, so the support has been there for years and years and years.”
Taylor considered spending his day with the Stanley Cup near Clarkson University, where he played college hockey, and in Los Angeles, where he has lived since he joined the Kings as a player. But in the end, he wound up taking it back home—it was really his only choice.
“That’s probably the coolest thing—being able to share the Cup with your family and close friends,” he said. “Like I said, I started playing hockey when I was five years old. I’m 63 now, so it’s been a lot of years in the game. But I think that if I ever had the opportunity to win the Cup and I had a day with it, I felt that I would like to bring it back to my hometown.”
“I talked that over with my wife, and she said, ‘For sure, you’ve got to take it home.’”
LEAD PHOTO: Former Los Angeles Kings great (and former general manager) and current Vice President of Hockey Operations for the St. Louis Blues Dave Taylor, shown here during the on-ice celebration following the Blues winning the Stanley Cup on June 12, 2019 at TD Garden in Boston. Photos courtesy Dave Taylor.
SECOND PHOTO: Dave Taylor, shown here taking a sip from the Stanley Cup during the dressing room celebration after the St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup on June 12, 2019, in Boston. Photo courtesy Dave Taylor.
THIRD PHOTO: Dave Taylor. shown here on July 11, 2019, hoisting the Stanley Cup in front of the mine in his hometown of Levack, Ontario, where he worked during summers while he was in college. Photo courtesy Dave Taylor.
FOURTH PHOTO: Dave Taylor, shown here on July 11, 2019 at the local ice rink in his hometown of Levack, Ontario, with some close friends and the Stanley Cup. Photo courtesy Dave Taylor.
FIFTH PHOTO: Dave Taylor, shown here on July 11, 2019, with the Stanley Cup at the town limits of Levack, Ontario, his hometown. Photo courtesy Dave Taylor.
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