Good Morning, Stockton. - LA Kings Insider

Good Morning Insiders!

After last night’s defeat in San Jose, the team hopped on a bus and drove to Stockton for the second game of this weekend’s back-to-back set. Despite being the visiting team, Ontario actually arrived at Stockton Arena before the Stockton Heat, who were in the process of busing back from Bakersfield and their season opener.

I’ve heard good things about Stockton Arena and while I’ve only seen the locker room area – the ice & floor itself was pitch black last night – I’m excited to get over for a game that feels like one I’ve seen all too many times, from the other angle.

I spent three of my five seasons in the industry in within the Calgary Flames minor league systems, including one year in the AHL with the Adirondack Flames, who are now the Heat. I have to say, it feels a little bit weird going in as a part of the other side if you will. While in Glens Falls, I watched the “AA” versions of the Los Angeles and Calgary organizations square off more times than I can remember, the black and white of the Manchester Monarchs against the red and yellow of the Adirondack Thunder, including playoff series’ between those two teams in three straight seasons.

Walking into the arena tonight will certainly jog some old memories, albeit in a new location. Stockton Heat Head Coach Cail MacLean was our bench boss in Adirondack for two of my three years there and I worked for Stockton Heat President Brian Petrovek for three of my four years in Adirondack. Stockton GM Brad Pascall and Equipment Manager Peter Bureaux were in the same roles with the AHL Flames and the voice of the Heat, Brandon Kisker and I moved our way through several players transactions. Stockton Heat forwards Ryan Lomberg and Brett Pollock both played in the ECHL in Adirondack.

The connections don’t stop with me though. Stockton forward Scott Sabourin spent part of the 2015-16 season with Ontario while Reign forward Jamie Devane spent the 2016-17 season with the Heat and has the most recent Calder Cup Playoff goal in Stockton history from Game 5 of Round 1 of the 2017 postseason.

One of the interesting parts about this industry that really differentiates it from a normal job, especially for the players, is that you may only have “co-workers” for just a matter of months. In an office setting, you may work alongside the same person for 10 years but in hockey, especially at the minor-league level, it could be less than one with contracts, callups, trades, etc. As an example, 17 players that skated in double-digit games with the Reign last season are not on the 2018-19 Opening Night roster.

You see these sorts of reunions all the time, old teammates from juniors or college or the minors, now facing off as opponents at the pro level. Brings out the human side of the industry a bit.

Back to the regular side of the industry, Ontario is on the ice today for an 11:15 morning skate at Stockton Arena, preceding tonight’s 6 PM puck drop. Game preview coming later today!

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Kevin Gravel

#4 | 6′ 4″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

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


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.

Rob Scuderi

#0 | 6′ 1″ | 212 lb | Age: 37

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


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.

Michael Mersch

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 225 lb | Age: 24

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


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.

Michael Latta

#24 | 6′ 0″ | 207 lb | Age: 25

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


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.

Adrian Kempe

#09 | 6′ 1″ | 187 lb | Age: 20

Born: 9/13/1996
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


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.

Brett Sutter

#07 | 6′ 0″ | 192 lb | Age: 29

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


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.