Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Checking Into The Penalty Box

Ever since ESPN Zone opened at LA Live, I've struggled to like it. They've never seemed especially Kings fan friendly, even when the Kings would hold official watch parties there. But all that is changing thanks to the the grand opening of The Penalty Box this past Saturday. Now Kings fans have their own special place to watch games, enjoy some refreshments and talk everything Kings!

I stopped by the grand opening before the game Saturday and was totally impressed, so I caught up with the man responsible for this great new venue -- Mike "RinkRat" Zampelli of letsgokings.com, the Official Fan Community of the Los Angeles Kings! He graciously agreed to talk a little more about how The Penalty Box came about and what fans can expect when they visit this season.

KC: How did the idea for The Penalty Box come about?
RR: "It was ESPN's idea to wake up "The 19th Hole", a room upstairs that was dead. I was appointed as "Mayor" to bring it all together. Sitting by the front door and watching reactions as people enter is priceless, they are in awe!"

KC: You did a great job with the design, featuring tons of Kings memorabilia! Where did everything come from?
RR: "Most was loaned by Luc Robitaille, myself, Mike Altieri and Jon Lowe. They put a cool plaque thanking us under the Dave Taylor painting. A few more things are coming including a surprise for Luc."

KC: Are there regular food and drink specials fans can expect when they come in?
RR: "There are a few specials like $2.50 glass/$7.50 pitchers of beer and a build your own burger combo with fries and a brew for $15 (the burgers are GREAT)."

These Kings fans look happy!

KC: I also hear they're doing personalized beer mugs! How do those work?
RR: "They are $30, and will feature the Penalty Box logo and your name (or LGK username). Each time you come in, your personal mug is waiting for you. They sold out right away and are going to build another display case and do another batch. $10 from each mug goes to "Be the Match"! (Tanner has got an enormous smile on his face right now!) 

KC: Now that The Penalty Box has had its grand opening, when is the next big event there?
RR: "I was apprehensive about Monday night against the Sharks since it wasn't opening night, but the place was packed with Kings fans, Ice Girls and even Bailey, so it looks like a success! The next test will be the first away game. I'd like to see this place packed for EVERY away game, it's the perfect venue for a game watch!"

The next time you're headed to a Kings game or need a place to watch while the team is out of town, stop by The Penalty Box and tell them RinkRat sent you!


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