Large crowds of Kings fans swarmed L.A. Live on Wednesday evening hoping to see their team win the Stanley Cup, but many were left disappointed after finding out that there was no outside viewing of the game and that restaurants and bars were filled to capacity.
The Kings, one game away from winning the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years, were playing the Rangers at the venerable Madison Square Garden in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.
At L.A. Live, hundreds of fans flooded the plaza area, where Game 3 was shown Monday on a big screen. But the fans, many of them decked out in black-and-white Kings jerseys, found a far different scene than that of the previous game.
Around 6 p.m., security personnel gated off the plaza area, saying that they were told by fire inspectors that the area was filled beyond capacity. That sparked angry reactions from people who had come downtown in hopes of seeing their team win a championship.
"This is what you do?" an upset Bill Watkins told a security guard.
The 41-year-old Pasadena resident later said that he had taken three Metro rail lines to get downtown. "Obviously I'm disappointed," he said. "There's no Kings spirit. There's no L.A. spirit."
Fernando Arzate, 29, who lives in Mid-City, said shutting down the plaza contradicted the entertainment purpose of L.A. Live.
"L.A. dropped the ball today, " Arzate said.
Club Nokia was holding a viewing for season ticket holders. But Arzate and others were left to crowd the sidewalks and peer inside the packed bars and restaurants in hopes of seeing the game.
"How can hockey grow if they're telling people to leave," he said.