An Heir of Resiliency

The following is a story I originally wrote for the English section of the Rafu Shimpo, the Los Angeles Japanese Daily News (founded in 1903), on a freelance assignment. It was published in their print edition on November 30, 2016, and they have graciously allowed me to reprint the story here.


Los Angeles Kings right wing Devin Setoguchi
(click above to view larger image_
Photo: Juan Ocampo/Courtesy Los Angeles Kings via Getty Images

EL SEGUNDO, CA — When he was playing youth hockey in Canada, Devin Setoguchi’s favorite player was a fellow Japanese Canadian, superstar Paul Kariya, who played for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks (now the Anaheim Ducks) from 1994-95 to 2002-03, before finishing his National Hockey League career with the Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues.

Today, Setoguchi, 29, is playing for the Los Angeles Kings, hoping to complete a comeback story that would add another chapter to a family legacy in Canada that began in Vancouver, British Columbia, and includes his paternal grandparents having to survive incarceration in a horse stable nearly 75 years ago.

Setoguchi grew up in Taber, Alberta, on a farm that was established by his paternal grandparents, who lived in Vancouver until World War II when they were forcibly removed from their home and community.

Indeed, Canadians of Japanese ancestry, along with their immigrant parents, were unjustly incarcerated during World War II—more than 22,000 people in all—in Canadian concentration camps, in similar fashion to the unjust incarceration of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans and their immigrant parents in American concentration camps and other confinement sites.

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Tanner Pearson, Nic Dowd Give LA Kings Much Needed Spark

Los Angeles Kings left wing Tanner Pearson, shown here
during practice at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — With their 4-3 overtime win over the Dallas Stars on October 20 in Dallas, the Los Angeles Kings avoided the first 0-4 start in franchise history, and they did that, in large part, because of the spark provided by left wing Tanner Pearson and rookie center Nic Dowd.

After being a healthy scratch in the first two games of the season, Dowd made his season debut on October 18 at Minnesota, a 6-3 loss. But on October 20 at Dallas, he opened the scoring on the power play at 8:18 of the first period, finishing off a nifty passing with a deke move that Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen bit on, giving Dowd an open right side of the net to shoot at for his first National Hockey League goal.

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LA Kings LW Kyle Clifford Has A Dual Role With ECHL’s Ontario Reign

Left wing Kyle Clifford, who would normally be playing for the
NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, is skating with the ECHL’s
Ontario Reign during the NHL lockout.
(click to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan

ONTARIO, CA — Already leading the Alaska Aces, 1-0 early in the second period of a game on December 1, 2012, at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California, a familiar face to those who follow the Los Angeles Kings, scored a highlight-reel goal to give the ECHL’s Ontario Reign a 2-0 lead.

Left wing Kyle Clifford, who won the Stanley Cup last season with the Kings, scored that goal when he fought off Aces defenseman Alain Goulet. Clifford skated across the low slot, and as he spun, he managed to wrist the puck top shelf, beating Read more of this post

Los Angeles Kings Let It All Skate Away Against San Jose

LOS ANGELES — Four days after the Los Angeles Kings were eliminated in six games from the first round of 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs by the San Jose Sharks, the Kings dressing room at Staples Center has probably been cleaned out, not to be used (at least, not by the Kings), until next season.

Despite losing in six games, the Kings came close to, not just extending the series to a seventh game, but to advancing to the second round. Indeed, when they were on top of their game, their forecheck, defensive zone coverage and goaltending gave the Sharks fits.

“We had opportunities to win this series,” Kings right wing and team captain Dustin Brown lamented. “We had a 4-0 lead at home in Game 3, and two other overtime games. We were right there.” Read more of this post

Frozen Royalty Audio and NHL Video: LA Kings Fix Defense, But San Jose Wins, 1-0

LA Kings TV color analyst Jim Fox donned his famed “Don Cherry” jacket for Fox Sports West’s telecast of a 1-0 shutout loss by the Kings
to the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center
in Los Angeles on January 1, 2011.
Photo: Gann Matsuda

LOS ANGELES — Six days after handing the San Jose Sharks a royal beat down on their own home ice, a decisive 4-0 victory on December 27, the Los Angeles Kings rang in the new year on a sour note, getting shutout at home by the Sharks, 1-0, disappointing a sellout crowd of 18,118 fans at Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 1.

Devin Setoguchi scored the lone goal for the Sharks at 18:54 of the second period.

The Kings outshot the Sharks in the game, 29-19, but failed get much traffic in front of San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi, who saw most shots all the way.

On the bright side for the Kings, they put in a solid defensive effort, a stark contrast to their previous two games in which they gave up a total of 13 goals, all of them gift-wrapped. Read more of this post