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Did You Know That The LA Kings Had To Trade For Their First Head Coach?

Former Los Angeles Kings head coach Red Kelly
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — Until 2006, when Dean Lombardi took over as their President/General Manager, the Los Angeles Kings’ history of trades was characterized by very few good trades and a ton of really bad ones, with a considerable number bordering on tragic.

One might even think that their first trade belongs on the “bad” side of the ledger.

That trade came on June 8, 1967, just two days after the 1967 National Hockey League Expansion Draft. But the Kings weren’t trading for a player. Instead, they were going after their first head coach.

Leonard “Red” Kelly, a twenty-year NHL veteran who won the Stanley Cup eight times—four each with the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs, became the Kings first coach. But that didn’t happen until after Maple Leafs general manager Punch Imlach exacted a price from the Kings.

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