Kings fans celebrate Stanley Cup win with fireworks, crowd surfing
VIDEO: Los Angeles Times assistant metro editor Jason Wells chats with reporter Ruben Vives about the fanfare surrounding the Los Angeles Kings’ second Stanley Cup victory in three years.
The chant echoed outside the Staples Center all night.
“We want the Cup! We want the Cup!”
After more than four hours and nearly five periods of tense, back-and-forth hockey, the Los Angeles Kings got it for them.
When Alec Martinez found the back of the net in the second overtime, lifting the Kings to a 3-2 win and the championship, thousands of fans erupted in jubilation.
Now the chant became “We got the Cup!” Fireworks were set off. Crowds were surfed and mosh pits formed among those crowded into L.A. Live.
“It was awesome,” said Jonathan Arriaza, 26, of Pomona. “Both teams were tired, both were frustrated, both goalies were great, it was just awesome.”
The game left fans on edge all night, as the Kings jumped out to a 1-0 lead before the Rangers scored twice late in the second period. But Ex-Ranger Marian Gaborik knotted the game at 2 in the third period, forcing overtime.
“The game was nerve wracking. We came so close to scoring so many times,” said Javier Reyes. “Now we get to see the parade.”
The victory ended a frenetic effort by the Rangers, who trailed in the series 3-1 before Friday’s game. The New York team battled all night in their ultimately unsuccessful push to extend the series.
But the hometown crowd got what they desired. They gathered even before the game began, undeterred by the LAPD warning that those without tickets would not be allowed near the arena.
Even LAPD Chief Charlie Beck was in the cheering section.
“Only a fool would count them out,” Beck said outside the arena when the Kings were down 2-1. Once the game was over Beck tweeted his hope that fans would remain peaceful.
“Let’s honor the great @LAKings win by celebrating responsibly! Win with Class, Celebrate with Class! #GoKingsGo.”
Shortly after 10 p.m., LAPD officials said there had been no reports of significant trouble.
“So far, it looks peaceful,” said LAPD spokesperson Officer Rosario Herrera.
Around 10:45 p.m., police in riot gear broke up a melee outside the Staples Center. Officers began to usher fans away from the arena, but by then many already were on their way out.
Police also reported two arrests late in the first overtime, after a disturbance inside of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant. The two men were asked to leave the eatery, and one of them allegedly shoved a police officer, authorities said.
No one was seriously hurt. Police also believed a fan had been struck in the head with a bottle, but later determined that injury was tied to a domestic dispute that happened away from the arena.
Kings’ supporters were out in full force before the puck dropped at 5 p.m., many of them filling Chick Hearn Court and the L.A. Live area that was supposed to be closed off to fans.
For authorities, the memory was still fresh of Lakers fans’ bad behavior after that team won the NBA title in 2010.
At 5:30 p.m. Friday, an LAPD spokesman said if the Kings win, police will close down the streets surrounding Staples Center and all nearby freeway exits to stop a tide of fans from descending on the area.
Seconds later, Justin Williams beat Henrik Lundqvist with a backhander to give the Kings a 1-0 lead, causing the crush of black and white jerseys outside the arena to erupt in a chant of “Go Kings! Go!”
“I really think we’re going to pop the champagne bottle today,” Stanley Dukes, 55, said moments before Williams’ opening goal.
The game had its twists and turns, and many fans outside let out a series of boos after the Rangers took a 2-1 lead in the second period, chanting “Rangers suck.”
The giant television screens that dot L.A. Live were turned off to discourage fans from descending on the area, but many of the faithful who showed up have either been peering into bars to watch the game or feverishly refreshing their smart phones to keep up with the action.
Still restaurants were teeming, and the arena that is home to the Lakers and Clippers was in unabashed hockey mode tonight, with statues of Oscar De La Hoya and Magic Johnson draped in the Kings’ jerseys.
One man, sporting a whiskered, curling beard and charcoal slacks, held up a pink sign that read, “I have $200,000 in student loans and an unpaid internship. Need tickets.”
He even offered to shave his “playoff beard” for tickets.
The fan, who asked to be identified only as Arnold for fear of losing his internship, said he had been standing outside for two hours. He sprouted the beard during the Kings first title run in 2012.
“It’s one of the lengths I’m willing to go through to see the Kings hopefully win the championship,” he said, when asked if offering to shave it was bad luck.
Times Staff writer James Queally contributed to this report.
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