Now They’re Lining Up for Gretzky : Kings Hope for Sellout Tonight After Winning Opener

Times Staff Writer

Late Friday afternoon there were still tickets available for the Kings’ game tonight against the Calgary Flames, but phones were still ringing in the Kings’ ticket office and there were fans lined up at the window.

Tom Pace, one of the box-office managers, said that the Kings’ victory in the opener Thursday night had “very definitely” had a positive effect on ticket sales. “You know how L.A. fans love a winner,” he said.

The winner that had packed the Forum Thursday night, the first time the Kings had ever had a sellout for an opener, was Wayne Gretzky. The question was whether those who were first-time fans would come again.

“Hopefully, Saturday night’s game will be a sellout, too,” Pace said. “We’re selling tickets here and at Ticketmaster locations. But what you have to understand is that Saturday night Kings games always have a big last-minute sale. I don’t know why, but starting Saturday afternoon and Saturday night, people start coming out of the woodwork. We’ll have 10, 12 windows open on Saturday with lines going forever.”

Season-ticket sales doubled after the trade for Gretzky was announced, and there is no doubt that it was Gretzky who drew the sellout crowd to the opener. What happens from now on, though, will depend on how the team fares with Gretzky in the lineup.


Gretzky has said: “One person can’t do it. It’s got to be everyone. But I think as long as we work hard, as long as we start winning, people will show up.”

Luc Robitaille, who scored 3 goals for the Kings in the opening victory, said after the game, “Playing with Gretzky is so much fun, I can’t wait to get to the rink.”

Crowd figures tonight and Sunday, against the New York Islanders, will show whether people think he’s that much fun to watch.