Ontario Reign’s First Season In AHL Deemed A “Rousing Success” – Part 1

The following is Part 1 of a two-part story on the Ontario Reign’s inaugural season in the American Hockey League, looking at how they did off the ice, and in terms of developing Los Angeles Kings prospects.

Ontario Reign President Darren Abbott
(click above to view larger image)
Photo courtesy Ontario Reign

LOS ANGELES — On January 29, 2015, when the American Hockey League announced that five teams would move to California to begin play in a new Pacific Division, the Manchester Monarchs, the Kings’ AHL affiliate, was in the midst of an outstanding regular season that would end with them in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

The Monarchs not only went on a deep playoff run, but they went on to win the 2015 Calder Cup Championship.

But the Monarchs’ time to celebrate was rather short, as the team moved to Ontario, California over the summer to become the AHL edition of the Ontario Reign, while the ECHL version of the Reign moved east to become the ECHL Manchester Monarchs.

For all intents and purposes, the Kings swapped their AHL and ECHL affiliates, bringing their AHL affiliate more than 3,000 miles west—virtually into their own backyard, and in their inaugural season in the AHL, the Reign were highly successful despite losing in the Western Conference Final to the eventual Calder Cup Champion Lake Erie Monsters in a four-game sweep.

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LA Kings RW Prospect Scott Sabourin Is Falling Short of Expectations

Los Angeles Kings right wing prospect Scott Sabourin, shown here playing for the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography”

ONTARIO AND LOS ANGELES, CA — Back in the late summer of 2013, a big, burly right wing came out of nowhere to turn heads during the Los Angeles Kings’ rookie camp and rookie tournament. In fact, in a rookie game against the then-Phoenix Coyotes, this player, not known for skating, speed or skill, took a breakout pass in stride, split two Coyotes defenders at the far blue line and went in on a breakaway. He didn’t score—his wrist shot barely missed the top left corner of the net. Nevertheless, he left just about everyone in attendance with jaws agape.

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LA Kings Hoping Back To Basics Approach Cures Offensive Woes

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Luke Schenn
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography”]

EL SEGUNDO, CA — After earning a 3-3-1 record on their annual “Grammy” road trip, the Los Angeles Kings begin a nine-game stretch (starting tonight against the Calgary Flames, 7:30 PM PST, Staples Center) in which they won’t leave Southern California, and they’ll need whatever advantage playing on home ice can possibly provide, with the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks now trailing them by just two and three points, respectively.

Indeed, the team that was once running away with the Pacific Division lead is now in a vicious dogfight for first place.

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

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar
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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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