MY VISIT TO SEE THE L.A. KINGS
Well, well, well. I was invited to of all things an Ice Hockey game at the famed “Staples Centre” in Los Angeles. Their team is called the L.A. Kings – they dress in black & white which makes them appear more dramatic. Now I have to speak the truth and say that I did not really want to go. However the evening arrived so we made our way to the stadium through the usual L.A. traffic (common in most major cities around the world). We arrived 2 hours before the game began, which gave my friend an opportunity to show me around a location called “L.A. Live”. With huge screens on almost every building and as the evening darkness slowly descended upon the city that never appears to sleep, the screens came alive & vibrant with images of games past and present. Along of course with the endless movie and television ads, but it was quite spectacular. Then we made our way with the company of some 19,000 rabid L.A. Kings fans, many dressed in the Kings uniform bought in huge quantities at the store inside the stadium, along of course with the two million gallons of soda and the ever present crunch of popcorn. As the fever pitch grew the first thing I noticed was the pure size of the venue and as we walked around looking for our seats I looked down the narrow isle that leads us into the arena. They had thick black curtains across and that of course is to keep the cold in. Anxious as I was to see the ice rink proper I slipped in and drew the curtain aside. It was like looking out of your front room window on a cold December day, a kind of mist hovering over the ground. Also I observed they had several fog machines pumping, I imagine to create atmosphere which it did in abundance. So now to the most fabulous part of the evening for myself, when my friend’s long-time friend approached us to invite us down to the hallowed ground of the penalty box. It turns out that he was the “time keeper” for all the games and has been for the past 24 years. His love of the game was obvious. Sitting next to him “The Voice” of the L.A. Kings with an open microphone direct to “Toronto Canada”, Toronto being I assume the ice hockey capital of the world?. Then what followed was for myself and many hundreds of loyal fans who get there early was the “warm up”.