Teamwork Was One Of The Big Stories At Charity Hockey Game Benefitting Be The Match

Amber Lynette Hall (#77 in yellow, wearing the captain’s “C,” shown here during Knights of the Forum charity hockey game,
held at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, Calfornia on August 16, 2015.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — We’re still almost two months away from the start of the 2015-16 National Hockey League season. But for fans of the Los Angeles Kings, their team has not been on the ice since April 11, more than three months ago, a layoff many are no longer accustomed to after seeing their team play until mid-June when they won the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup Championships.

But on August 16, one could hear the vaguely familiar sounds of hockey pucks banging off the boards and clanking off goal posts. One could also hear the sounds of skates cutting into the ice as players tried to stop, of stick blades striking pucks on a slap shot, and of fans cheering loudly when a goal was scored.

Indeed, a charity hockey game benefitting Be The Match, sponsored by the 2,300-plus member Knights of the Forum group on Facebook, was played at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California on August 16, in front of a sell-out crowd of over 400 fans.

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LA Kings Rob Blake on Prospect Brian O’Neill: “Not Big…But He Competes At The Level Of The Big Guys”

LA Kings forward prospect Brian O’Neill (#22 in white), shown here taking a wrist shot in the slot during Game 1 of the 2015 Calder Cup Final against the Utica Comets on June 6, 2015, at the Verizon Wireless Center in Manchester, New Hampshire.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Blake Gumprecht

LOS ANGELES — Last April, when Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Brian O’Neill was named as the 2014-15 recipient of the Les Cunningham Award as the American Hockey League’s Most Valuable Player, if you listened carefully enough, you may have heard people asking, “who?”

Indeed, it was not until this past season that O’Neill began to appear on the radar as a legitimate Kings prospect.

“A lot of that has to do with my age, being a late bloomer, going to college and not being drafted,” said O’Neill. “[He] was a free agent signing. But I’ve been with the Kings for awhile. A lot of the guys they draft they have [been in the minors] for three or four years before they turn pro, and they’re still on everyone’s radar. But everyone advances differently in their career. My path is a little bit unique [compared to] other kids on the team. But L.A. has done a good job of bringing kids along [slowly]. Regardless of your age, they take their time with guys, and they’ve gotten really good results.”

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Charity Hockey Game Expected To Raise More Than $10,000 For National Bone Marrow Matching Program

To view/download a printable flyer,
click on the image above.
(Adobe Reader software required
to view/print).

LOS ANGELES — National Hockey League teams sponsor a slew of activities and events each year, including charity hockey games, to help raise funds for worthy causes.

But how often do you see an informal group of fans—not a team, business or a non-profit organization—band together on their own to do that, independent of anyone else?

That’s rare, to be sure. But one group of Los Angeles Kings fans is doing just that on Sunday, August 16, 2015, when they will play a charity hockey game benefitting Be The Match, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping blood cancer and other patients get the life-saving bone marrow or cord blood transplants they desperately need.

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LA Kings LW Prospect Michael Mersch Is Powering His Way Towards The NHL

LA Kings left wing prospect Michael Mersch (left), shown here scoring in overtime of Game 1 of the 2015 Calder Cup Final against the Utica Comets on June 6, 2015, at the Verizon Wireless Center in Manchester, New Hampshire.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Blake Gumprecht

LOS ANGELES — Don’t look now, folks, but the Los Angeles Kings could have a star power forward in the making down on the farm, and it might not be who you think it is.

“He’s as good as anybody in the American [Hockey] League level, and I don’t know if there’s any better at the National Hockey League level in front of the net,” said assistant general manager Rob Blake. “He’ll stay in there, stay in the battle, and he’s got a touch [for] scoring. You saw that during the season, and it increased at the end of the season, and he was very dominant throughout the playoffs.”

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LA Kings’ Rob Blake On Jordan Weal: “There’s Not A Lot of Players Like That Around”

LA Kings forward prospect Jordan Weal (center, shooting)
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Blake Gumprecht

PROSPECT WATCH: Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Jordan Weal went from a player with loads of doubt on his shoulders due to his size to one who dominated at the American Hockey League level. But will he be able to translate that to the National Hockey League? Audio interviews with Weal and Kings assistant general manager Rob Blake are included. Final installment of a two-part story. Don’t miss Part 1, From Doubts To Dominating: LA Kings F Prospect Jordan Weal Has Risen To The Top Of The AHL.


LOS ANGELES — As reported in the first installment of this story on July 24, Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Jordan Weal has ascended to the top of the American Hockey League as a dominant player who was one of the AHL’s top scorers this past season and its Most Valuable Player during the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs, leading his team, the Manchester Monarchs, to the 2015 Calder Cup Championship.

But the Kings’ third round selection (70th overall) in the 2010 National Hockey League Draft was obviously not chosen to play in the minor leagues. After all, NHL teams do not draft players who have no hope of ever plyaing at the NHL level. Nevertheless, even after three years with the Monarchs, the Kings’ AHL affiliate (which will become the AHL’s Ontario Reign in the coming season), as with the vast majority of young prospects, questions abound.

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