It was announced on Saturday that the Los Angeles Kings and STAPLES Center would be hosting the 2017 NHL All-Star Game. This will be the second time for the midseason classic to be played at STAPLES Center and the third time the Kings have hosted it. The game coincides with the club’s golden anniversary and frankly, it is fitting to have the game in Los Angeles.
While I certainly understand those who are unhappy about the game not being in Toronto, it has been 15 years since the club lasted hosted the event and, in the risk of sound bias, there is hardly anyone better than a team that not only has won two Stanley Cups this decade but where sellouts are commonplace.
Luc Robitaille, now the team’s president of business operations, said at the official announcement on Saturday, saying the transformation of downtown is stunning.
“I lived in LA for 15 years and I went downtown once,” he said. “It’s amazing when you think about it. Then, we built Staples Center, people started coming downtown for the games, but now the way it is with LA Live, now you go downtown to go to dinner or you go downtown to see a movie. It’s completely changed the way people live in Los Angeles.”
And Robitaille knows what he’s talking about.
During his 19-year Hall-of-Fame career, Lucky Luc played three separate stints for the Kings, starting and finishing his career with the silver-and-black.
As a way to thank the fans for their 50 years of loyalty, Robitaille felt that the fanbase, and the city, deserved to host the All-Star Game.
“We feel the 50th is important to our fans,” he continued. “We have had tremendous support for the Kings for a long time now. We’ve always had support from our fans, they have never given up. You look at other teams that when they have lost for a few years in a row, they never average the same gate as us. We felt it was important to give our fans a big event and no better way to thank them to give them the best players in the world.
“We kept pressing the League about how important this was to us and I think they understand that everything that we try to do is to grow the game.”
Despite hosting the NHL Draft in 2010, the Stadium Series in 2013 and having Stanley Cup wins in 2012 and 2014, many would — and do — argue that the Kings — nor Los Angeles as a hockey city — still do not get the recongition they deserve. Here’s hoping that next year’s All-Star Game will help change that.
But even if it doesn’t, the fans will continue to come out in droves to STAPLES Center and to nearby bars and restaurants to cheer on their team. Hockey purists may not approve of this decision but this writer, for one, is beyond excited to see the big game back in Los Angeles.
Having the All-Star Game back in the City of Angels will be a wonderful experience to say the least. Perhaps Toronto was more deserving of hosting the game as it will be their 100th anniversary but even so, if the aforementioned events the team has hosted in recent years is any indication, then the 2017 All-Star Game will be a huge success, and a fun time to be had by everyone involved.
It is just one of many ways why the Kings’ 50th anniversary will be so memorable.