My farewell to Ontario Reign Insider - LA Kings Insider

The first time I met Stutts we sat and chatted about hockey the Kings’ affiliate’s move to Ontario and the warmer weather. In the stands just outside the Reign locker room was where “Bus Texts with Stothers” became a thing. I knew I wouldn’t be traveling to away games and Stutts said he hated talking on the phone after games, so I asked if texts would be a better option for him. It was off and running from there.

I accepted the Ontario Reign Insider job in the fall before their first AHL season. I was waiting for the Dodger Stadium shuttle at Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles when I received a call from Jon Rosen with the offer. I celebrated by eating a Fritos and chili cheese hot dog.

That same spot was where Stutts and I first chatted was where I ended up watching most practices. Where I was chirped at by Nic Dowd and always given a friendly wave from assistant Chris Hajt (who I wish the very, very best of luck in Buffalo).

After two seasons I’ve made the very difficult decision to surrender my press box post at Citizens Business Bank Arena. It’s been an amazing, memorable ride.

The Reign seemed unbeatable in Season One. Really, the season was a whirlwind and the hype of the team’s move to Ontario was evident. There were nights where Kevin Gravel and Co. would answer questions for over 10 minutes. Yep, there were a lot of late nights in the press box.

Season Two brought the enigmas: Goalie coach Dusty Imoo backed up his son Jonah in his first AHL start. The Reign played through the RAIN against Bakersfield in a complete downpour. Ultimately the season ended with another enigma as Jack Campbell couldn’t start, Jeff Zatkoff was hurt in warmups and the team turned to third-stringer Jack Flinn before Campbell came on in relief. Storylines galore.

Jesse Cohen of All The Kings Men Podcast fame once asked me what it was like for me when Ontario stars earned callups. I was surprised by the question but my honest answer was that it really does humble you when you see anyone fulfill their dream – no matter who they are or what field you’re in or they’re in. We’re all human. Stutts telling me he sent Mike Mersch a “thumbs up” emoji when he earned his call-up to the Kings was a classic moment.

I must admit I won’t miss the two-hour plus drives from my full-time job at FOX Sports in Century City to Ontario on Friday nights, trusting Waze to take me on unfamiliar side streets to shave off 10 minutes.

The moments that made me most proud of the work I had done were when I was contacted by the family or friends of players over Twitter or stopped in person right before heading back up to the elevators after post-game interviews. This level of hockey is special in the way that there’s no NHL Network equivalent and what was made apparent was a lot of what I did helped these loved ones stay connected. I took great pride in that.

I have to thank Jon Rosen for the opportunity and all his help and advice along the way.

I have to thank Joey Z for being a reliable teammate day in and day out and for the laughs.

I have to thank the entire Kings and Reign staff for being so accommodating and welcoming during it all. Thanks also to the players for their time and patience.

Thanks to Stutts for all the time and the texts and the always warm, “Lindsay, what could you ask me today that’s changed since last night?”

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Kevin Gravel

#4 | 6′ 4″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: DOB: 2/17/1996
Birthplace: KINGSFORD, MI
Position: D

Bio

Gravel made his NHL debut with Los Angeles in the 2015-16 season, skating with the Kings for four games before returning to AHL affiliate Ontario.
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Rob Scuderi

#0 | 6′ 1″ | 212 lb | Age: 37

Born: DOB: 12/30/1978
Birthplace: SYOSSET, NY
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Scuderi is currently playing for the Reign while under contract with the LA Kings. He has won two Stanley Cups, once with the Pittsburgh Penguins and with the Kings.
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Michael Mersch

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 225 lb | Age: 24

Born: DOB: 10/2/1992
Birthplace: PARK RIDGE, IL
Position: LW
Handedness: Left

Bio

Drafted by the Kings in 2011, Mersch is currently playing forward for the Reign. Last season, he drew into his first NHL game for the Kings, where he registered 2 shots and 3 hits.
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Michael Latta

#24 | 6′ 0″ | 207 lb | Age: 25

Born: 5/25/1991
Birthplace: KITCHENER, ON
Position: F
Handedness: Right

Bio

Prior to turning professional, Latta played major junior hockey in the OHL with the Ottawa 67’s and Guelph Storm. He was drafted into the NHL in 2009 and joined the King’s affiliate Reign in 2016.
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Adrian Kempe

#09 | 6′ 1″ | 187 lb | Age: 20

Born: 9/13/1996
Birthplace: KRAMFORS,SWEDEN
Position: LW
Handedness: Left

Bio

Growing up in Swedan, Kempe made his hockey debut in 2014 in the Swedish Hockey League. He has since been drafted by the Kings, where he is playing for their AHL affiliate team, the Ontario Reign.
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Brett Sutter

#07 | 6′ 0″ | 192 lb | Age: 29

Born: 6/2/1987
Birthplace: CALGARY, AB
Position: C

Bio

Drafted in 2005 by the Calgary Flames, Sutter was traded to the Reign in 2016. He is the son of LA Kings head couch Darryl Sutter, and the eighth member of the Sutter family to play in the NHL.
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