LA Kings, Anaheim Ducks Minor League Teams Face-Off In AHL Playoffs

LA Kings center prospect Nic Dowd is expected to be an impact player in the Ontario Reign’s
second round playoff matchup against the San Diego Gulls.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — They say rivalries can’t be true until teams meet in the playoffs, but whoever “they” happens to be must not have seen the American Hockey League’s Ontario Reign and San Diego Gulls go at each other in their first season as divisional rivals this year.

The Reign and the Gulls have only met twelve times, and were affiliates in separate locations in prior seasons, but the rivalry is very strong between the pair of prospect-building affiliates, the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks, respectively, of the National Hockey League.

“It’s a fun rivalry, especially with what the Kings and Ducks created,” Ontario forward Sean Backman said in video interviews with Reign public relations staff. “The Gulls and the Reign, we’re not too fond of each other, it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”

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LA Kings, San Jose Sharks Minor League Teams Square Off In Playoffs, Too

Ontario Reign goaltender Peter Budaj
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — As their parent teams finalize a series in the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the American Hockey League affiliates of the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks begin their best-of-five game series on Friday afternoon in San Jose.

At season‘s beginning, the Pacific Division was a new standard for the AHL. Now it gets one of California‘s top rivalries between two of the premier California organizations, as the Ontario Reign and San Jose Barracuda will keep the organizational on-ice rivalry fresh as they square off for a best-of-five game set in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs pitting Southern California vs. Northern California, just like the Kings and Sharks.

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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 Prospect Watch: Forward Jonny Brodzinski

Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Jonny Brodzinski, shown
here playing for their American Hockey League
affiliate, the Ontario Reign.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography”]

ONTARIO, CA — Although he is not expected to don a Los Angeles Kings jersey anytime soon, the Kings just might be developing a sniper in their farm system.

Ontario Reign right wing Jonny Brodzinski (he can also play at center), who was selected by the Kings in the fifth round (148th overall) of the 2013 National Hockey League Draft, played three seasons for St. Cloud State University, where he scored more than 20 goals each year, and was nearly a point-per-game player in his last two seasons.

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LA Kings Prospect Watch: Center Nic Dowd

LA Kings center prospect Nic Dowd (center, wearing number 26), shown here during a game with the
American Hockey League’s Ontario Reign
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — When the Los Angeles Kings played their first game as a member of the National Hockey League in 1967, hockey in California seemed laughable. The only snow was an hour or two away in the San Bernadino Mountains, and most locals had never seen ice hockey on national television, so would there even be a fan base to build from?

Today, Southern California plays host to two NHL teams, a pair of minor league affiliates for both franchises, and countless developmental programs for youth that have led youngsters to careers across all forms of professional hockey, not to mention one of the largest growing fan bases.

One of those minor league teams is the Ontario Reign, now the American Hockey League affiliate of the Kings.

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