Yesterday, I had the honor of catching up with former Kings great, and Hockey Hall of Famer, Marcel Dionne, who was gracious enough to give some of his time. Dionne, now 59, played with the Kings from 1975-88, making up the bulk of a tremendous NHL career in which Dionne totaled 731 goals and 1,040 assists in 1,348 games. Dionne now lives in Niagara Falls, Ontario, where he owns and operates a sports-memorabilia store (www.marceldionne.com). Here’s the interview, which I hope everyone will enjoy…
Question: Even though you’re pretty far from Southern California, do you still get the chance to keep up with the Kings?
DIONNE: “Absolutely. I’m watching on TSN and SportsNet, and looking at the standings, and when they play back East, I catch them. I’m aware of their lineup and I’m very happy for them. They got off to a quick start and they were very impressive last year. They’re going to lose a few here and there, but they’re most likely going to win more games, which is real nice. The last three years, they have made some headway. The only sad thing is that we hear so much about the East Coast teams and the teams in Canada. Sometimes they forget about L.A. I talk to (CBC analyst) Kelly Hrudey, because I know he played in L.A., and I said, `You’ve got to start talking more about them.’ When they do talk about L.A., the word out there is that they have a very good team. But there’s a next step. When I look at the top 10 (in scoring), I wish I could see Kopitar there, because then you get a little more print.”
Question: No doubt, the memorabilia store keeps you busy, but what else are you up to these days?
DIONNE: “I have a sports-marketing company, and I have for many years, and I have done many other things. I’m still involved with the public, and I probably do over 80 appearances a year, with corporate and charity functions, and a lot of events related to the business of hockey. It’s a lot of fun. We’re building a diner now, for my daughter, as part of the complex with the store. We have a lot of requests for local events, and I said, `Let’s do it.’ So we’ll serve breakfast and lunch, and after that we can close and have some private parties. It’s all sports-related. it’s a real fun thing. Where we are, they love the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres. You get fans from everywhere. It’s a very healthy environment, especially with the holidays coming down.”
Question: When you think of your association with the Kings over the years, what do you take the most pride in?
DIONNE: “I’m very, very lucky because I get to travel so much and see people. Today I saw Denis Potvin, and I’ve met a lot of guys, over the year, I played with in World Championships and All-Star Games, and I know their families and they know my family. With L.A., I’m lucky that I still meet a lot of guys everywhere. It’s very, very rewarding. We go back to times when the game was a little different, so it’s very enjoyable. We exchange some things that were a part of our past. For me, L.A. is obviously what I’m known for. I started with the Red Wings, but it’s amazing how that memory starts to fizzle out.”
Question: When you look back at your career with the Kings, which game or moment stands out the most for you?
DIONNE: “[laughs] Well, there’s no doubt that it’s always the Miracle on Manchester. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched that thing with my kids, and my grandkids watch it. It’s fading on the tape. Now we have `Dancing With The Stars.’ Every time I look at Daryl Evans, I think, `He should be asked to dance on that show.’ Then you hear Bob Miller and the emotion in the voices of all those people. That’s what is very, very rewarding. There’s no doubt. When I go to Edmonton, I’m still reminded. `Marcel, you guys…’ [laughs] That was not a big outcome for me in that game, but I watched Charlie (Simmer) and Dougie Smith and Daryl Evans with that wicked shot off the faceoff. That, you don’t forget that. I’m not very good at remembering things, but this one was obvious.”