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Attending Los Angeles Kings Practice Sessions

LA Kings defensemen work with the coaching staff
during a recent practice session
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

UPDATED: September 27, 2017

As part of the local media covering the Los Angeles Kings, Frozen Royalty gets a lot of questions about when they (and visiting teams) will be practicing (when the Kings are at home). Here’s a guide to finding out when they will practice along with answers to other related questions. It will also tell you when to ask…

When do the Kings practice next?

OR…

What time do the Kings practice tomorrow?

Q: Where do the Kings practice?

A: The Kings’ practice facility is the Toyota Sports Center (TSC), 555 North Nash Street, in El Segundo, California (see map below).

Q: Are practices open to the public?

A: YES. All practices at TSC are open to the public UNLESS the Kings hold practice in conjunction with a special event. For example, let’s say they decided to hold a practice session during HockeyFest, or something like that…it might be included in the admission price. But that’s a rare occurrence. It’s safe to assume that all practices at TSC are open to the public.

When visiting teams skate at TSC, those sessions are also open to the public.

The exception would be any practice session held at Staples Center (during the playoffs, the Kings will often hold game-day morning skates there and visiting teams will usually practice there during the playoffs). For obvious reasons, such practices would not be open to the public.

Q: Are practices free?

A: YES. There is no charge, UNLESS the practice is part of a special event (see above). This includes visiting team practices.

Q: Where do I park? Is parking free?

A: TSC has their own parking lot, and parking is free. BE ADVISED, however, that TSC is a often a busy building. With three ice sheets, TSC usually has a lot going on. As such, the parking lot can get full, especially when there is a youth hockey tournament happening.

When the lot is full…

On weekdays, exit the TSC lot and turn RIGHT (southbound) onto Nash Street. Turn right into the next driveway. That’s the Karl Storz building next to TSC. Drive past the ground floor entrance to the parking structure on your right. At the end of the alleyway, turn right onto the ramp leading to the roof level of the parking structure. You can park there for free. There is a staircase at the northwest corner of the structure leading to TSC. Be advised that the gate to that staircase will lock, so you’ll probably have to walk all the way around to get back to your car.

On weekdays after 5:00 PM and on weekends, the gate to that same parking structure on the TSC side should be open. You can park (free) on the ground level of that structure.

Q: How about public transportation?

A: As of this writing, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) and Torrance Transit serve TSC.

The Metro Green Line (light rail) runs adjacent to TSC, stopping at the Mariposa Station, about one block north of TSC—it’s an easy walk. Metro Bus Line 232 also stops at the Mariposa Station.

Torrance Transit’s Line 8 stops at the Mariposa Station.

For fare information, schedules, line maps and other information:

Metro: http://www.metro.net
Torrance Transit: http://www.torranceca.gov/27901.htm

Also, Metro’s Trip Planner will tell you how to get from where you are to any destination served by any of the local public transit agencies, not just Metro. Using the trip planner to determine how to get to TSC from your location is highly recommended.

Q: What if I get hungry?

A: TSC has a cafe that serves more than just burgers and sandwiches, and the food isn’t bad at all. There is also a new bar that opened recently.

Hours for the cafe vary, depending on what’s going on at TSC that day, but they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, even though they may not be open for breakfast on a particular day. Again, HOURS VARY depending on what’s going on there.

PRO TIP: During the lunch hours on weekdays, there is usually a gourmet food truck parked in the Karl Storz building parking lot on the Grand Avenue side (about one block west of Nash Street). Easy walking distance.

Q: Can I take photographs during practice?

A: YES. Cameras are allowed, including DSLR’s and telephoto/zoom lenses. HOWEVER, you may take photos only from the bleachers, along the glass in front of the bleachers (be sure you’re not blocking anyone’s view) and in front of the northeast corner of the ice (the corner nearest the staircase leading to the upper level).

DO NOT attempt to linger or take photos from the southeast corner, adjacent to the Kings dressing room. Only Kings staff and media are allowed to hang around in that area during practice. TSC security will ask you to leave the area.

David Sheehan of CaliShooterOne Photography, Frozen Royalty’s primary photographer, has photographed Kings practices at TSC for several years. He offers some do’s and don’ts, and some tips that should help you take better photos at practice:

  • Always be aware of other people enjoying practice. Don’t block their view.
  • Just like at games, even though there is protective netting around the ice and above the glass, be aware that pucks and sticks could leave the ice, and could cause injury.
  • NEVER yell at the players to get their attention for a photo during practice.
  • If security asks you to do something, or to stop doing something, comply immediately. Rules are in place for a reason, whether it is for your safety, or for the players.
  • If you’re standing at the glass, be aware that the taller the glass, the more it will sway when the players bang into it, which could cause the glass to make contact with you or your camera/lenses/other gear.
  • Don’t use a flash when shooting practice. First of all, it is a distraction to the players while they’re running drills. Second, it causes a lot of glare on the glass resulting in poor photo quality.
  • You will get better photos the closer you get your lens to the glass.
  • If you use auto focus, be mindful of the scratches in the glass, which could adversely affect your photo(s).

Q: What about video?

A: If you’re using a smartphone or a SMALL, handheld video camera, you should be able to take video. But if you’re using a professional grade video camera, you will probably be asked who you are, who you’re working for and why you’re shooting video footage. You may even be asked to stop shooting.

The answer to the above regarding taking photographs also applies to shooting video.

Q: Can I get autographs?

A: YES. You can often find players heading to their cars in the parking lot after practice (and any meetings or workouts they may have after practice, so be prepared to wait), and the vast majority of players will stop to sign and take photos. However, be sure to remember that:

  1. Especially on game days, the players’ top priority is to prepare for the next game. They need to get a meal into themselves and then get to bed for their pre-game nap. YOU are not their priority, nor should you expect to be.
  2. After practice, the players are on their own time, and are not obligated to stop to sign autographs. See point #1 above.
  3. If a player doesn’t sign an autograph that you requested, or doesn’t want to take a photo and rushes off, keep in mind points #1 and #2 above. If you think, “wow, that guy didn’t sign my jersey, what a jerk (or insert your favorite expletive here),” stop to think. After all, if the player politely declined, it would be YOU who’s the jerk for thinking that, not him.

Q: How do the Kings, generally speaking, handle their practice schedule?

A: Here’s the way the Kings USUALLY do things (subject to change…don’t assume any of these things will happen)

  • When the Kings play a 7:30 PM home game, their game-day morning skate usually starts at 10:00 AM.
  • Game-day morning skates are usually short, around 30-40 minutes.
  • When they play a 7:30 PM home game, the next day’s practice usually starts at 11:00 AM.
  • After a non-game day practice, the next day’s practice (if it’s also a non-game day) usually starts at 10:00 AM. This will be case if the local media don’t announce a different start time.
  • A full practice usually runs anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour. They rarely extend past one hour.
  • Don’t be surprised if a practice session begins earlier than the announced start time. In fact, that often happens, and it’s never announced by the team (the coaches never tell the Communications staff in advance).
  • The Kings will usually practice on a travel day unless they are flying to an Eastern time zone destination. In that case, they will fly out of Los Angeles International Airport that morning…no practice.
  • When they play road games against the Arizona Coyotes or San Jose Sharks, don’t assume that they will fly to those destinations on the same day as the game. In fact, the Collective Bargaining Agreement dictates that NHL teams fly the day before any road game. As such, the Kings will generally practice the day before and fly that same afternoon.
  • NOTE: As teams come out of the NHL’s holiday break, exceptions are made, on a case-by-case basis, so the Kings could fly to another NHL city on the same day, but it’s very, very rare.

Q: Do the Kings announce their practice schedule in advance?

A: Depends on how you define “advance.” If you’re talking about days ahead of time, never. If you’re talking about the day before, after an off-day practice, yes. If you’re talking about the night before, sometimes. If you’re talking about the day before they return home after a road trip, possibly.

Murky enough for you? Now you know how the local media feel!

Generally speaking, the Kings’ Communications staff will notify the local media about the next day’s practice schedule at the following times:

  • 45 minutes to one hour after the conclusion of a home game.
  • Starting in the 2015-16 season, the Kings have been announcing their next day’s practice schedule for a day after the last game of a road trip prior to that final game, usually an hour or two before the game starts. However, the announced schedule is subject to change. If they do not announce the practice schedule prior to the start of the game, they will usually do so within an hour after their plane lands at Los Angeles International Airport after a road trip. This could happen at any hour, including the wee hours of the morning, in which case we might not see it until hours later.

The above is your guide to when to look for the practice schedule for the next day (see below where to find that information). It should also tell you not to bother asking about the schedule beyond the next day—it’s not like the local media will know.

Q: Can you tell us if the next practice is a full skate or an optional one?

A: The coaching staff usually doesn’t tell the Communications staff in advance if a practice is going to be optional or not, so the media doesn’t find out until we arrive at TSC. In short, no, we can’t tell you.

On rare occasions, practices are sometimes cancelled, or they decide to workout off the ice instead. In those cases, we don’t find out until we get to TSC, either.

In other words, if you attend a practice, you do so at your own risk.

Q: How do I find out when they are practicing?

A: The best, fastest and most reliable ways are…

NOTE: No matter which one you follow, each gets the practice schedule from the same source, in the same e-mail, at the same time.

Toyota Sports Center via Google Maps


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