Hockey Fest may have it's detractors but I think it's the perfect segue into the pre-season after a long summer without enough ice. With the exception of one missing roster number (three guesses who that is and the first two don't count), ALL the players came out and did their part to welcome the fans in grand style. And I have to say, they are VERY EXCITED about the coming season -- and so are all the Kings fans I talked with during the event.
Since I packed a lot into my Hockey Fest experience, I'm going to break it up into several posts to avoid one "Mother Of All Blog Posts." Look for those over the next several days. I'm a slow writer. For now, I'll share a few quick observations of the day overall.
- The players all looked GREAT. Dustin Penner is still a very large mammal, but he looks lighter than he was. And the new road jerseys looked FANTASTIC on everyone. I'm considering skipping meals for a few weeks to save some scratch to buy one.
- The biggest topic of discussion the entire day was Number 8 and all the other numbers he may or may not be considering. Shocker, I know. It was interesting to get some perspective from my fellow die hards on that one. That's a whole other blog topic coming soon.
- Seeing so many people enjoying the family skate was incredible, and I envy them for getting to enjoy such nice smooth ice. The best part? It's going to stay that way longer thanks to the greed of the NBA. I love it!
- Bailey seems...different somehow. I can't put my finger on it, but something is up with that lion. I'm going to have my spies work on getting to the bottom of that situation. I think maybe he ate too many pens during the Kids Conference...
- Kudos to the kids that participated in the Shoot Out Challenge, which was judged by Dustin Brown, Davis Drewiske, Jarret Stoll and Anze Kopitar. They showed some incredible skill and creativity, and I can't even imagine what an amazing experience it had to be getting to hang with NHL players for a bit. We did learn that Brownie is very stingy with his scores. Kopi and Stolly were pretty calibrated. I have no idea why Whiskey was even a judge, but I guess the Kings staff wanted to make up for the fact that he got stuck handing out Lemonheads at Tip-A-King last year.
- Speaking of kudos, those firefighters played an exciting game! No word yet on how much money they raised, but I'll let you know once I can find out. I will say those commemorative jerseys were SHARP!
- Hats off to the Kings Booster Club for supporting Dustin Brown's charity KaBOOM with their merchandise sales! Club President Lee Ann Kleine was telling me they were busy all day and sold out several items. Thanks to all of you that bought things to add to your collection. The boosters are also going to have some very unique raffles going this season, so look for more details on those once the season starts -- and prepare to purchase raffle tickets!
- Bob Miller is the nicest man alive. He got stopped on the concourse while the new player Q&A was happening and patiently chatted with everyone and signed autographs for at least 15 minutes. The man is pure class.
- And speaking of class, THANK YOU to all my fellow Kings fans that stopped me to say hello. I enjoyed putting faces to Facebook and Twitter profiles for those of you I met for the first time, and I can't wait to see you again during the season. You folks are the reason I love doing what I do with Kings Court. THANK YOU, THANK YOU THANK YOU!
Is it October yet?
GO KINGS GO!