In case you missed my LAKings.com feature that went up yesterday, here’s a link. It’s a story about the organization’s hockey and business operations working in lockstep with each other, and how success breeds more success. While this would be difficult to sustain without a winning team, the team’s business side has done an excellent job in cultivating the hockey fandom brought about by a team that has played 60 playoff games over the last three seasons and is 9-1 in its last 10 playoff series.
“We’ll go out for dinner, the beards we all have don’t help,” Doughty says. “But back in the day we could just pretty much roll in anywhere, and there’s no way anyone would know who you were, no possible way, and now it kind of seems everywhere we do go, we are getting recognized. It’s kind of more like when you’re back home in Canada.”
“It’s changed drastically. I don’t know if I like it better or not. I for sure don’t like it better, actually.”
He’s speaking of the public recognition, not the team’s success, and he’ll live with it.
LAKings.com: Sustaining Success
Recommended from The Globe and Mail: Thanks to Kings, hockey is hot in L.A.
Several additional quotes that didn’t make it into the article:
Luc Robitaille, on Philip Anschutz’s communication with the team:
He’ll chat with Dean. He’ll chat with me. He’ll chat with Dan. But his message to us…we built the plan and he’ll always come back and say stick to the plan. He’s very involved now. It’s a lot of fun to see him all year to come to the games and to send us e-mails after wins, but that being said, he lets the hockey people do what they have to do. Like I said, the biggest thing he always reminds us is you guys built a plan, stick to the plan. That’s what we’re doing as an organization and we’re not going to veer from it.
Robitaille, on his sense of pride in this Kings team:
I think this team has been absolutely incredible. You look at what they’ve done the last three years and it’s the character the players have shown and obviously the passion our fans have shown. That Game 6 here in LA in the Conference [Finals] that was as loud a building I’ve ever heard in the NHL and it’s truly incredible. I just think what’s happening right now, it’s never been seen. The Gretzky era in the 90’s, it was great, but these guys have blown by them by a mile.
Drew Doughty, on his initial impressions of Los Angeles as a hockey market:
It was a little surprising to me when I first came, because I didn’t really know too much about the fanbase here, and I had never been to California in my life. I was a fan growing up, so I always had a love to be an LA King, and when I finally got here, the team had kind of been in the dumps for a little while and had not been very good throughout the regular season and hadn’t been in the playoffs for a little bit. When I got here, one of the main things before I got drafted was Dean wanted me to come here and be a winner and take this team to the Cup Final, and here we are again. But we’re not satisfied with just the Cup Final. We want to win.
Previous LAKings.com features:
Culture Shift and Identity
Backbone of Experience
Game 7 Mentality
Alec Martinez: Ready to Play
Rogie and Quick
Jumping Off Point
Weekend in Manch
Silver and Black Lining
Mark Morris: An Open Door
Darryl Sutter: Playing Hardball
Dining Out with Willie Mitchell
Kings of CHLA
West is Best
Talk About It
Little Time for Rest
Make Them Better
Will to Win
Smooth and Selke
Up, Up and Away
In Their Eyes
Work in Progress
Scuderi’s Actions Speak
Brown’s Model a Path for Doughty