All 30 teams are preparing for the upcoming season with an abundance of zeal as each club is striving for something a little different. For the Los Angeles Kings, they are determined not only return to the playoffs but to once again contend for the Stanley Cup. The sooner the upcoming season starts, the better.
2014-15 was a challenging year both on and off the ice for the Kings, and this past summer did not give the silver-and-black much relief.
After having to dealing with Slava Voynov’s absence on the ice and his legal situation away from it to the drug-related arrests of Jarret Stoll followed by Mike Richards, the Los Angeles Kings have to do deal with – albeit unfairly – a great deal of scrutiny. With examples like the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals, it seemed as though the Kings were forming their own “bad boys club” for lack of a better term, and they were garnering a great deal of negative attention.
But, like my father had always taught me, it’s not making the mistake that matters but learning from it, and if Monday’s news is any indication, then the Los Angeles Kings are very much committed to the latter.
On Monday, the Kings announced a series of personal conduct training initiatives in addition to partnerships with various social groups to help better educate their employees and help instill the club’s values and principles.
Dan Beckerman, chief executive of the Anschutz Entertainment Group, made the following statement through the Kings’ official website:
During the past year, we have been extremely diligent in developing an educational strategy and comprehensive programs in an effort to ensure that the troubling incidents that occurred last season are not repeated. We have conducted research, gathered information and forged partnerships that will better prepare our players and staff for challenges that could impact their behavior away from the workplace.
A couple of weeks ago, the Kings hired former NHLer Brantt Myhres – who played under GM Dean Lombardi in San Jose — to direct the club’s player-assistance program.
In addition, the Kings organization will also conduct sexual harassment training as well as creating Kings Over Violence, a promotional campaign in partnership with Peace Over Violence to increase awareness against violence. Another campaign will be The Herren Project, which will be dedicated to educating players about drug and alcohol abuse.
During the off-ice legal drama involving the aforementioned Kings – most notably Slava Voynov – there was a collective sense of disappointment towards the organization. While, in fairness, the Kings could only say and do so much during their defenseman’s legal drama, a fair number of fans felt that perhaps the organization could have stepped forward and indicated how intolerable abuse against women is. The Kings, to their tremendous credit, seem especially determined to move forward and to return to their winning ways. Skeptics may suggest that this is simply a PR stunt, but I respectfully disagree.
This decision may make the Kings look better in the eye of the public but it is also the responsibility of any organization to be on the same page with their employees and even their supporters so that they may collectively echo the same sentiments.
This is a story that is only just beginning for the Los Angeles Kings, but with such a promising introduction, the first few chapters should be even better.