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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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LA Kings Anze Kopitar: “It Only Comes Down To Winning Or Not.”

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — On April 22, the Los Angeles Kings gathered at their practice facility where they met with the local media, lamenting their first round playoff loss to the San Jose Sharks, who eliminated them in five games.

Even worse, although the scores were close in all but Game 5, there were long stretches in the other games where the Sharks dominated, at times, making the Kings look like they didn’t belong.

“Teams in this league are pretty good,” said center Anze Kopitar. “You can’t just think that you’re going to come in and just roll over everybody. I think San Jose was a good example. They just flat out played better hockey than we did. They got timely goals on their power play and we weren’t as sharp as we wanted to be on the penalty-kill and on the power play. That’s what usually makes the difference.”

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LA Kings Must Solve San Jose Forecheck If They Expect To Win Game 5

LA Kings center Vincent Lecavalier
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — On the eve Game 5 of their best-of-seven first round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks, the Los Angeles Kings, who trail the Sharks in the series, 3-1, opted for video sessions to review their game plan and off-ice workouts, aside from a handful of players who chose to skate.

“We went over some special teams from [Game 4 on April 20 in San Jose], checked on some injuries, and guys got a little workout upstairs,” said head coach Darryl Sutter. “The guys who wanted to go on [the ice, went] on.”

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LA Kings Have Lots To Fix In Short Amount of Time Before Game 3 vs. San Jose

LA Kings forward Marian Gaborik
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Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — That the Los Angeles Kings are off to a dreadful start to the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs is not just surprising, but you could say that it is also understating the situation.

Sure, one could argue that they overcame greater odds in 2014 when they came all the way back from a 3-0 series deficit against the San Jose Sharks to win their first round playoff series, 4-3.

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Can LA Kings Flip The Switch In Time For First Round Matchup vs. San Jose?

LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Los Angeles Kings have been hard at work over the past couple of days, preparing for the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the San Jose Sharks, starting tonight at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

But if the way the Kings ended the season is any indication, they have some issues to correct before the post-season party begins. Otherwise, they’ll likely be booted from the party very, very early.

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