As the Los Angeles Kings' Stanley Cup victory parade reached its end point -- Staples Center -- team captain Dustin Brown raised the cup over his head with both hands, holding it high for all to see.
“You guys are doing awesome on your part, and thank you all,” he told the throngs of fans from atop the double-decker bus showing off the team.
After the downtown L.A. procession, which began at noon at Figueroa and 5th streets, the Kings are to host a sold-out hourlong fan rally at Staples Center starting around 1 p.m.
The crowds lined the mile-long parade route, whooping and cheering as the team rolled by in the bus, wielding the cup. This is the second Stanley Cup victory parade in three years for the Kings, who won the NHL championship in 2012.
The second championship was clinched in a nail-biting, 3-2 double-overtime victory Friday night over the New York Rangers.
Just before the parade started, a woman leaned against a barrier at 6th Street and Figueroa, wearing a gold-colored plastic crown and holding a sign that read, "Thank you, Kings." People hung out of the upper levels of a parking garage across the street, looking down on the route.
Kevin Wu, 26, of Culver City clutched a black hockey stick. Asked how long he has been a fan, he replied: "26 years" -- since birth. He now sells hockey sticks for a living, and his life, he said, is "live, eat, sleep, hockey."
Up the street, Mitch Snowden, 23, of Arcata, Calif., wore a Kings jersey and hat and laughed with three friends.
Snowden, a student at Humboldt State, said he watches every game at a bar called Sidelines. "Even if I've got class or work, I won't miss a Kings game," he said, his friends nodding and laughing in agreement.
Snowden was joined at the parade by Justin Gore, 25, of Northridge, who also attended Humboldt State. "We're the only Kings fans in all of Humboldt," gore said. "The Kings brought us together."
Near the beginning of the parade route, Alex Lozano, 50, leaned against a security guardrail. He said he also attended the Stanley Cup victory parade in 2012.
"It's sweeter the second time around," he said. "I would love to have one every year."
Lozano, who said he has been a Kings fan since the early 1980s, said he woke up at 6:30 a.m. to catch a bus from Glendale to downtown L.A.
Bonnie Winthrop of Chino Hills and her children Joey, 8, and Sophie, 4, waved Kings towels. Sophie -- chirping, "Go, Kings, go" -- wore an adult-size Stanley Cup shirt that hung on her like a dress, dragging on the ground.
Hayli Nopper, 11, of Riverside said she couldn't believe how many of her friends don't watch hockey.
"I ask my friends at school if they like hockey and they're like, 'Who are the Kings?' I always say, 'Are you kidding me? I don't even know you anymore,'" she said, laughing.
Hayli was recruited to be a fan by her aunt, Megan Lindsey, 25, who was at the parade with her. The two were nervous when the Kings were down 0-3 early in the playoffs -- but not too nervous. "The Kings always come back," Hayli said.
"You can't kill them," Megan agreed. "They're like cockroaches. You can't kill them."
Paul Bunch of Rancho Cucamonga, who said he happened to be born in 1967 -- the year the Kings entered the NHL -- waited with his family for the parade to start.
Bunch was excited for the event, as it would be the last time for a while that his son, Jacob, 18, would be able to celebrate this kind of victory with him. "My boy is going in August to the Marines," he said. "So we're tremendously excited they got the Cup before he leaves for five years."
The Los Angeles Police Department set up bike barricades from 5th Street to Staples Center and has 800 officers out, lining the street every 20 yards, officials said. Along the route, officers could be seen on foot, bicycles and motorcycles.
Not everyone along the route was there only to celebrate the Kings' victory: Some vendors were selling shirts and other merchandise, and before the procession, street preachers bearing signs with bible quotes reached out to fans waiting for the parade to begin.
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