During the Kings’ championship rally on Monday afternoon, there was only one man sitting on the ice who got a lukewarm reception — the mayor.
After emcee Bob Miller got huge cheers for introducing the team, front office personnel, and coaches to a raucous sold-out Staples Center, Eric Garcetti walked up to the podium to a mixed reaction. That is, until the end of his speech.
Before he finished, Garcetti told the crowd, “They say there are two rules in politics. Never get pictured with a drink in your hand, and never swear.”
As he pulled out a bottle of beer, Garcetti smiled and said, “Well, this is a big [expletive] day.”
The crowd erupted into one of its biggest cheers of the afternoon, and Garcetti was back in its good graces. On Monday, at least, the road to popularity in Los Angeles ran through the Kings.
“This is slowly starting to become a hockey town,” captain Dustin Brown said to supporters at the parade. “It’s a tribute to all you who are out here supporting us ... we have to keep doing our part, and you keep doing yours.”
During the parade, players wore jerseys signed by all of their teammates on top of double-decker buses and a semi truck. The Stanley Cup sat in the truck, surrounded by players and families taking pictures. Fans trying to get a better look scaled trees, and it was impossible to move in certain areas on the route.
After the parade, the players went into Staples Center for the rally, which got rowdy fast. It opened with a video featuring Kings players on the ice at a young age, with Aerosmith’s “Dream On” playing in the background. It showed a clip dated to 1993 of defenseman Drew Doughty looking into the camera and saying, “Hockey player," when asked what he was going to be when he grew up.
The video and introductions of players all got a very loud response from the crowd, but the biggest cheer of all might have been for Coach Darryl Sutter. He got a standing ovation every time his name was announced. At the end of his speech, Sutter asked the crowd, “See this baby right here? Well, she’s been gone for a couple years, but boy are we happy she’s back home.”
Also speaking was Luc Robitaille, the president of business operations and Kings legend, who criticized pundits who thought that the team’s 2012 championship was a flash in the pan. He assured the crowd by saying, “To all you hockey experts, we’ve got more to come. Have a good summer, and we will see you here next year.”
One of the last speeches was from President and General Manager Dean Lombardi, who lost his voice in the 2012 championship rally. This time around, he was more than ready, and said, “I feel like the luckiest man in the world,” during his speech.
While that got a good reaction, the biggest cheer of the night, though, came at the end of Lombardi’s speech. He brought Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar up to the podium, and asked them, “You won a ring in 2012 and 2014. Which one is your favorite?”
Standing behind the Stanley Cup, which will soon sport the Kings’ names on the bottom of it for the second time in three years, the duo said simultaneously, “The next one.”Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times