A Pair of Kings – Phillip Danault & Pierre-Luc Dubois making their presence known in the LA community

They may be athletes by trade, but LA Kings forwards Pierre-Luc Dubois and Phillip Danault are making sure that hockey plays aren’t the only ways they’re leaving their mark on their adopted city.

Both Dubois and Danault took it upon themselves to initiate the execution of community events that would generate income and raise awareness for causes they personally hold in high regard. Back in January, Dubois arranged an event that benefitted the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), and in February Danault spearheaded an event in which the proceeds were given to multiple area programs that fund local youth hockey.

For Dubois, a native of Quebec, his love of animals dates back to when he was a kid. His family had a cat and multiple dogs so being around animals was the norm. He remembers adopting one of the family dogs, a black lab, from the SPCA and that’s where his affinity for the organization began.

His second year in the NHL he got a French bulldog, whom he named Philip – Phil for short. Phil had severe separation anxiety and it was tough for him when Dubois went on the road, so Dubois loaned Phil to his sister, who wanted a dog but not a puppy. The trial was only supposed to last one summer, but the arrangement was too perfect to be short-term.

“She brought him to work every day and he’s like a king there. He’s 24/7 with my sister, so she’s in love and he gets a life that he wants where he just hangs out around his owner every day of the week,” laughs Dubois, who prefers to give his pets human names. “If I could have brought him on the road I would have.”

It was after that that Dubois acquired Georgia, the English bulldog that was in the Bark Madness semi-final, competing against Reggie Doughty. Enzo, a Swiss mountain dog, was eventually added to the family, and so far, they make up the Dubois household. Both dad and Georgia were engaged in the Bark Madness festivities.

“I voted probably 75 times,” admits Dubois with a smile. “She needs the confidence, she needs the boost, so she’s really invested in this.”

Dubois began assisting the SPCA while he played for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. When he made it to the NHL, that was something he wanted to continue. He enlisted the help of the Kings Care Foundation, and on Sunday, January 21st, debuted his program – “PL’s Pups” at the SPCA Los Angeles facility in Long Beach where he met with fans and sponsored pet adoptions.

“We’re still kind of working on everything, exactly. I think step one was to go there and kind of just announce it that way. I’d like to do more things like that. If it could become like for every Saturday game or every home win or every goal, to donate,” explains the 25-year-old Dubois. “I think a lot of it is also awareness. I think a lot of people don’t even think about that when they think about getting a dog, so it’s the awareness part of it, and showing people that there are great dogs that need help, that need new homes.”

Georgia is a couch potato who makes her people come to her, while Enzo is in his rebellious stage right now, trying to establish himself in the house. While the two of them are great together and love each other, Dubois is itching for a third dog.

“When I was at the SPCA they brought me a little puppy that was so cute. It’s so hard to say no. It’s funny, today we’re actually going to go to a dog adoption at the school right next to our house,” Dubois concedes on Saturday after practice. “We’re going to walk there and hang out and see, but the more you’re around dogs the more the odds are you’re going to get one at some point. What’s three when you have two?”

Like his fellow Québécois, the inspiration for Danault’s initiative also stems from fond childhood memories.

“I’ve had so much fun since I was young, playing hockey, so I just want to give back to the young kids. I’ve had so many great memories just being on the ice, so I want to give back,” explains Danault.

On February 9th, Danault, along with teammates Trevor Moore and Kevin Fiala, went to Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream in Manhattan Village, where they scooped ice cream for two hours, with all proceeds benefiting the Little Kings program, ThruGUIDANCE, and the Kings Care Foundation, all entities that make youth hockey accessible and affordable. ThruGUIDANCE specifically serves families in underserved communities.

“Since I got to LA I’ve wanted to give back to the community, to get gear to players,”shares the 31-year-old Danault. “I don’t think I see enough hockey so I just want to give a chance to little kids that can’t afford it sometimes to get gear and get the skates on.”

Danault and his wife, Marie-Pierre, have always been involved in their communities together, going back to his time playing for the Montreal Canadiens. They came up with the idea to scoop and serve ice cream because it’s something that Danault claims he has always wanted to do.

“It was fun but really hard, actually,” Danault admits, laughing. “It was hard to remember all the orders, it was good that we had somebody with experience doing it with us.”

He had help scooping ice cream from two of his buddies in Fiala and Moore, and the three of them, while it was obvious they shouldn’t quit their day jobs, looked like they had a lot of fun entertaining fans, acquiring new skills, and raising money for their cause.

“I just forced them,” jokes Danault, regarding how Fiala and Moore ended up a part of his community outreach event. “We all want to help the community – Kevin and Trevor are always up to it, so they came with a smile, and two hours of our time to give something back to the community is nothing for us. It was fun.”

Of the three, Danault admits he is the biggest ice cream lover of all. Tasting ice cream was, of course, part of the deal and Danault came away with a new favorite flavor – Monkey Business – while his kids enjoyed Blue Monster. The Danault kids, Phillip-Édouard, age 5, and Adélia-Rose, 2, enjoy ice cream just like their dad…..a little bit too much.

A few more Kings teammates stopped by the event as patrons in support, including Quinton Byfield, Jordan Spence, and Vladislav Gavrikov, who brought his three-year-old daughter. In the spirit of the occasion, everyone posed for photos with fans.

While Danault’s goal is to continue raising funds for local youth hockey programs and create an even bigger event next year, he’s going to put those efforts aside right now to focus on hockey down the stretch.

Whether its on skates or four legs, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Phillip Danault have their Los Angeles communities well-taken care of.

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