HAIL TO THE KINGS (and a tip of the hat to the LA hockey fans)

17Jun12

I’m sure you’re wondering why I took so long to write something about the newly-crowned Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings.  After all, I had them favored to win the series over the New Jersey Devils going into the final series.  What a great opportunity to do some gloating! 

There are a couple of reasons that I decided to wait.  As far as the gloating aspect, I would only have been joining the majority of hockey fans that reside east of the Appalachians, so that really would not have been as satisfying as you’d think. 

The second reason has to do with my post on 5/27/12, “BICKLEY’S ATTACKS ON PHOENIX FANS IS MISGUIDED”.  If you recall, local sportswriter and former Chicago resident Dan Bickley laid into the Phoenix fans for their unprofessional actions after losing to the Kings in the Western Conference championships. 

My response laid out a very brief history lesson on big city celebrations gone bad after professional teams won the title in their respective sport.  So I wanted to wait a bit, while everyone else was doing their analysis of the series, and see how the hockey fans of Los Angeles, a notoriously dangerous place to be during a victory celebration, showed their appreciation of their team and the sport of hockey. 

I must say, they did a great job and should be very proud of themselves.  But then again, this is hockey, the sport of gentlemen (see “HOCKEY FIGHTS – WHY THEY ARE NECESSARY”, dated 2/18/12).  So I wasn’t really all that surprised. 

First, let me say that the series was exciting to watch.  Congrats to the Devils of New Jersey for putting up a very good challenge and not simply handing the title over to the Kings.  As a result of their efforts, there were even a handful of experts jumping on the bandwagon after game five, pontificating that the Kings were in trouble.  They soon learned that, just as ‘pontificating’ was an unnecessarily big word, the Kings’ demise was an unnecessary concern. 

Second, I’d like to congratulate the Kings team and coaching staff for showing a lot of class with about four minutes left in game six and the score 6-1.  After the empty net goal to make it 5-1, the Devils’ heads were clearly no longer on the ice and LA could easily have run the score up into double digits if they had wanted to. 

Instead, they realized the game was over and decided to show respect for their opponent.  So they pulled back on the reins, continued to play solid defense, but stopped trying to score more points.  That is the mark of a true champion.  My hat’s off to you! 

Now, back to the fans.  In the tradition of big city celebrations, you would expect that the fans of Los Angeles, well-rehearsed in the destructive actions that always follow a Lakers title, would have taken to the streets to begin the ritual of turning over cars, setting fires and shooting a couple of innocent (?) bystanders. 

Instead, they kept the celebration to the locations where it belonged – inside of Staples Center, in the local bars and restaurants, inside their homes.  Do you see a trend here?  They kept the energy inside their environments.  They didn’t carry it out into the world around them.  They didn’t go out and destroy property that did not belong to them.  They didn’t go out and injure people that they didn’t know.  They acted like professionals! 

Even during the parade that followed through the streets of downtown Los Angeles a few days later, there were no reports of violence, destruction, looting or injuries. 

Therefore, my hat is also off to them, for showing once and for all, that there are Los Angeles sports fans that know how to act like adults when they celebrate their teams’ good fortunes. 

They just happen to be hockey fans!!

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