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February 15, 2014 11:15 am

Dieter Ruehle checks in from Sochi

Apart from the six players and Canadian Equipment Manager Darren Granger representing the Los Angeles Kings at the Winter Olympics, Musical Director Dieter Ruehle has brought his organ to the Shayba Ice Arena to liven up Sochi crowds as he has done so well at Staples Center.

After speaking with Deborah Lew of, Ruehle joined LA Kings Insider to share his experience from the Sochi Games, the fourth consecutive Winter Olympics that he has worked.

LA Kings Insider: First off, how would you describe the environment in the Olympic village? Are you staying near the Olympians, or are you in a hotel? How have your accommodations been?
Dieter Ruehle: The atmosphere around the Olympics is very positive. There are people from all around the world just having a good time! I’m staying about 20 minutes up the coast from Shayba Arena in an area called Khosta. The accommodations are rather quaint. I’m staying at Golubaya Gorka which is a 1960s Soviet-era nine story hotel located on a hillside with a great view of Sochi and the Black Sea, very near an old summer home of Josef Stalin.

LAKI: How much Russian have you picked up? Is it necessary to speak a little bit of Russian? What percentage of the visitors in Sochi have traveled from outside of Russia to attend? Is there a sizable contingent of American fans that made the trek?
DR: I’ve picked up a little Russian, and trying to learn new words every day. I’m at a point where I can slowly read things in Russian. And while it’s not totally necessary, it’s definitely helpful to speak a little bit of Russian for at least common courtesy phrases (please, thank you, etc). I’m not sure on percentages of outside visitors. But I have heard some American English being spoken by others while out in Olympic Park.

LAKI: How has this Olympic experience differed from your previous Olympic experiences?
DR: Well, in these Olympics, this biggest difference compared to my past Olympic experiences (other than the language) is that all of the non-mountain venues are together in one huge complex here in Sochi. Spectators can walk from Speed Skating to Ice Hockey to Figure Skating to curling all within minutes.

LAKI: Have you bumped in to or seen any of the players on the Kings?
DR: Haven’t bumped into any Kings yet. But I met a couple of very cool players from the Swiss women’s hockey team!

LAKI: Which games that you’ve worked thus far have been highlights? Are you working primarily in the Bolshoy Ice Dome, Shayba Arena, or at other venues? How are the venues?
DR: I’m working only at Shayba Arena. Next door at Bolshoy, Ray Castoldi, the NYR Organist/DJ is working those games over there. Both venues are very nice. Bolshoy has a bigger feel, while Shayba is more intimate.

LAKI: Has your game presentation differed much from your participation in Kings games? What are fans chanting during your “Go Kings Go” melody?
DR: With “Go Kings Go!” there’s more of a clap along than a chant. I play some of the same tunes here that I play at Kings Games…the Workaholic Bells when there’s a penalty, and the Kings Goal horn. I also play some of the same organ prompters and cover songs, such as Benny and the Jets. On the flip side, I play a few things on the organ that I’ve rarely played in LA (Orphee aux Enfers (French Can Can), Hava Nagila, Zorba the Greek, etc) I play Kalinka, which is a Russian song, more often here than I do in LA. I’ve also learned another Russian song on the organ called Katusha which gets a really good reaction from the spectators here.

LAKI: What guidelines have you been given that relate to game presentation and entertaining the crowds?
DR: I’ve been told to be 100% certain the all the recorded music is clean, and to also stay as neutral as possible.

LAKI: How many events will you be able to attend that you won’t be working?
DR: I’m not sure, but probably not many. I attend a part of the Sweden/Czech Republic men’s hockey game next door at Bolshoy the other day. Might try to catch another sometime soon.

LAKI: Are you rooting for the United States, players on the Kings, or, I don’t know, Latvia? Slovenia?
DR: I’m for sure rooting for players on the Kings to play great! The other day when I worked USA vs Slovakia, it was very exciting to see Jonathan Quick and Dustin Brown play so well for Team USA.




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