They came to raise a glass to a Cup, again, to toast a game played on ice in a city where it no longer rains, much less snows.
They lined the metal barricades 20 deep, shoulder to shoulder in black jerseys. They were tatted homies, mustachioed hipsters, mothers pushing strollers. A group of young women dressed as referees and urged everyone to go vegan.
A man in a yarmulke stood next to three guys from a nearby construction site, still wearing hard hats. A businessman stood on Figueroa Street beneath his office tower, tie slung over his shoulder, next to a man who arrived shirtless, pushing his belongings in a shopping cart.
FOR THE RECORD:
parade: A caption for a photo that accompanied an article in the June 17 Section A about the parade marking the Kings' victory in the
described the celebrators in the photo as three fans in Kings garb. In fact, they were Kings players
They came for the same story. The last time, it went something like this:
The Kings paraded the storied trophy through the skyscrapers Monday before capping the day with a rally at
"I've never seen a sports team so united, so resilient," said Alex Lozano, who woke up a little after dawn to catch a bus from Glendale to the celebration. "I think all of L.A. is proud of that."
Lozano has been a Kings fan for 30 of his 50 years.
"It's sweeter the second time around," he said. "I would love to have one every year."
There were signs that Angelenos are still not exactly taking this in stride; Los Angeles Mayor
Still, they're talking dynasty around here. The Kings played a record 64 playoff games in the last three seasons. Seventeen players were on the roster for both championships, a significant number in an era when salaries are capped. And yet, team architects have continued to make key additions — the Kings traded for
"This franchise," Lombardi told the packed Staples Center, "has now evolved to another level."
It was heady talk, though most fans seemed content with the present, to welcome the Cup back after just two seasons.
Dewayne Holland, 49, of Kernville, has been a Kings fan since he was a boy, and he raised his daughters the same way. In a drawer at home is a shirt one of his daughters made with fabric paint when she was 6, depicting Holland sitting in a lounge chair and watching a Kings game on television. The daughter, Katie, is now 22.
"It took so long for us to get the Cup," Holland said. But it was worth the wait, he added: "They play their game. They never panic."
Indeed, a number of fans contrasted the stoic, homespun Kings to certain other sports franchises in Southern California, who have demonstrated that money cannot buy chemistry, or have seen front-office turmoil eclipse their performance. The Kings seem to have won L.A. not just because they win, but because of how they do it, with their backs against the wall.
During the team's first Stanley Cup run, in 2012, they barely made the playoffs, and then became the NHL's first eighth seed to eliminate the first- and second-seeded teams in their conference. That, it turned out, was nothing. This time, the Kings lost the first three games in the first round, and were one defeat from going home.
Mitch Snowden, 23, a college student who never misses a game on TV — including for class, he pointed out — was watching at his lucky bar when the
It was the beginning of a magical run — the Kings came back and won that series, and then became the first team in NHL history to win three Game 7s in the first three rounds of the playoffs.
All along, they were guided by
"You see this baby right here?" he said, fingertips on the rim of the Cup. "She's been gone for a couple years. And, oh, we're happy she's home."