Former GM Dave Taylor Started LA Kings Down Championship Road: Anze Kopitar

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Davie Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — Ten years ago last June, the Los Angeles Kings’ fortunes were dramatically changed in the annual National Hockey League draft, one that would set them on a course towards finally becoming a Stanley Cup Champion.

In the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, the year that Sidney Crosby was the runaway, consensus first overall selection by the Pittsburgh Penguins, big names like Bobby Ryan, Carey Price, Marc Staal, and T.J. Oshie were all selected in the first round. But perhaps the best player other than Crosby was not selected until the 11th overall pick, when the Kings were on the board.

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LA Kings D Prospect Zach Leslie Remains Positive While Biding Time With Ontario Reign

LA Kings defenseman prospect Zach Leslie (center, wearing number 8), shown here during a game with the
American Hockey League’s Ontario Reign
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — If you’ve never heard of defenseman Zach Leslie, unless you’re a fan of the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League, no one would blame you.

The 21-year-old native of Ottawa, Ontario, who was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the sixth round (178th overall) of the 2013 National Hockey League Draft, is now playing for the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Ontario Reign.

Actually, playing might be a bit of an exaggeration, because as a first-year pro, Leslie has been mostly on the outside looking in, so to speak, with the Reign this season, having played in just five games, contributing two assists, with a +1 plus/minus rating.

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Ontario Reign Coach Mike Stothers on LA Kings LW Prospect Adrian Kempe: “He’s Ahead of the Curve”

LA Kings left wing prospect Adrian Kempe, shown here during a game
with the Ontario Reign of the AHL.
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — With left wing prospect Michael Mersch having been called up to the Los Angeles Kings for fill-in duty with veteran left wing Kyle Clifford out of the lineup due to an upper body injury, for the time being, Adrian Kempe is now the top left wing prospect playing for the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Ontario Reign.

Kempe, who was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) of the 2014 National Hockey League Draft, burst onto the scene last season, when he was a late-season addition to the Manchester Monarchs, a team he helped lead to the AHL’s 2015 Calder Cup Championship.

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LA Kings, Anaheim Ducks Team Up To Teach Active Duty Military, Veterans, To Play Sled Hockey

Also includes photos from the So Cal Warrior Sled Hockey Learn To Play Clinic on November 15.

The following is an expanded version of a story that will appear in the January 2016 edition of USA Hockey Magazine.


One of the younger participants at the So Cal Warrior Sled Hockey Learn To Play Clinic, sponsored by the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, on November 15, 2015, at Ice-Plex in Escondido, California.
Photo: Dustan Brewer

ESCONDIDO, CA — Although dark clouds and rain created a dreary atmosphere outside, nothing could put a damper on the energy and spirit inside Ice-Plex in Escondido, California, where the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, with support from USA Hockey, held the So Cal Warrior Sled Hockey Learn To Play Clinic on November 15.

At the clinic, current players from the Kings and Ducks sled hockey teams, along with their coaches and other volunteers, helped active duty military, veterans and non-military learn to play sled hockey, teaching them the fundamentals of the game.

“Based on what we’re trying to do, in terms of growing the sport of hockey, and providing something for veterans and active duty military members who have given so much for our country, we decided it was best to bring in, not only the Ducks, but USA Hockey, and really get a team effort behind this event,” said Chris Crotty, Director of Hockey Development for the Kings.

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LA Kings D Jake Muzzin Looking To Reach New Levels In 2015-16

LA Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — On Day 4 of the Los Angeles Kings’ 2015 Training Camp, things were a bit less hectic and more focused, with their first pre-season game of the 2015-16 season on tap for tonight in Bakersfield, California against the Arizona Coyotes.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, otherwise known as the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California, defenseman Jake Muzzin mused about last season and what’s ahead for him, and the team, this year.

While most of his teammates were idled after the 2014-15 National Hockey League season ended for the Kings on April 11, 2015, Muzzin headed for the Czech Republic to represent Canada in the 2015 IIHF World Championship.

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