Scout.com’s Taylor Blake Ward Joins Frozen Royalty

Taylor Blake Ward (right)

LOS ANGELES — On December 20, publisher Gann Matsuda announced that Taylor Blake Ward, who covers the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for Scout.com and Valley Bay News, has joined Frozen Royalty, covering the American Hockey League’s Ontario Reign, the primary minor league affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings.

“I’m thrilled that Taylor has agreed to join Frozen Royalty,” said Matsuda. “As he’s shown in his Angels coverage, he’s a professional. He’s a journalist who will provide nothing less than the high quality, objective coverage of the Reign, and of the Kings prospects playing there, that has always been what Frozen Royalty has strived to bring to readers.”

Ward, 24, a native of Lake Arrowhead, California, grew up playing ice hockey as a winger at the Ice Castle of Lake Arrowhead, which served as training grounds for the Kings in the 1990’s, where he found an instantaneous bond with the Kings in the early 1990’s, after meeting Kings legend, Luc Robitaille.

Ward, who will primarily provide feature stories on the Reign, has followed the Kings since 1991, and was present for their first Stanley Cup victory in 2012. He plays hockey in pickup games in the Inland Empire and Sierra Mountain Range, and plays ball hockey in the summer.

In 2012, Ward served as the Media Relations Director for the High Desert Mavericks, who were the Seattle Mariners Class-A Advanced affiliate, at the time (now affiliated with the Texas Rangers), and began his writing career soon after in 2013 for Scout Media.

Ward has followed the Reign since their inaugural season in the ECHL in 2008.

“It’s been hard to contain my excitement about covering hockey once again,” said Ward. “I truly enjoy seeing the development of players, from the junior and college ranks, to the highest minor league levels, and I hope that enjoyment can be seen through my reporting. As much as I enjoy covering baseball, hockey runs in my blood line and is my true passion.”

You can follow Ward on Twitter at @taylorblakeward.


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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 D Prospect Kurtis MacDermid Wants To Be More Than An Enforcer

LA Kings defenseman prospect Kurtis MacDermid (right), shown here during the 2015 Rookie Tournament against
the Arizona Coyotes at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California, September 15, 2015.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — Even though the stereotype of hockey being nothing more than players fighting is still fairly strong among those who are unfamiliar with the game, those who follow it know that the frequency of fisticuffs in games has been on the decline for years and years. In fact, one can go weeks of watching games and never see a single fight.

Years ago, teams had a roster spot for an enforcer, a player whose only real talent was dropping the gloves and trying to clobber the other team’s enforcer. But today, National Hockey League teams cannot afford to reserve a roster spot for a one-dimensional player whose only skill is fighting. Indeed, today’s “enforcer,” if you can call the player that anymore, must be able to play the game.

Enter Los Angeles Kings defenseman prospect Kurtis MacDermid, who is now in his first professional season with the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League.

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Only A Matter Of Time Now Before LA Kings LW Prospect Michael Mersch Bursts Onto NHL Scene

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

AUDIO/VIDEO: Also includes audio of interviews with Ontario Reign left wing and Los Angeles Kings left wing prospect Michael Mersch and Reign head coach Mike Stothers. Also linked is video of an interview with Kings assistant general manager (and Reign general manager) Rob Blake.


ONTARIO, CA — Borrowing from the various Star Trek television series and motion pictures, the Los Angeles Kings have a power forward-style left wing prospect in their system who was already moving at warp speed towards playing in the National Hockey League.

Last season, you could say that younger player was moving at the low end of the warp speed scale, maybe warp 1 or 2. But with the 2015-16 season just a handful of games old, it is very much apparent that this player has quickly reached top speeds, exceeding warp 9.

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