On August 9, 1988 I became a fan of the Los Angeles Kings.
It's understandable if you find this a strange thing to hear. Considering the statement is coming from a man who lives on the complete opposite side of a continent from the hockey franchise, it's completely understandable if you find it odd. Let alone the fact that this man lives in, argumentatively, the hockey capitol of the world (meaning Canada, not Newfoundland... though, we loves our hockey too!).
Well, strange or not; it's true.
For those who are not in the know, the aforementioned date was one that rocked the hockey world, being the day that Gretzky was shipped from the Edmonton Oilers. It's fully apparent now in our 20/20 hindsight vision that this move single handedly brought hockey to the United States... and in parallel brought US hockey to Newfoundland; That being my (and likely others) consumption of the team. Yes, at first, I fully admit that the fascination into the Kings began with my admiration for the greatest player in hockey history. I'm not ashamed of that. It was during a time that I was just really starting to understand hockey; at a simultaneous time that I was trying to blossom and define myself. When Gretzky was traded to the St. Louis Blues in 1996 however, I couldn't find it in myself to leave the team I grew up with behind.
During that time of growth of mine and the teams, more than 'The Great One' began to cling to me. I became fond of their jerseys (and now that I think back on it, the jerseys are probably the start of my early teen days dedication to wearing nothing but black, grey and white) and cheered for (and cried with) them as they made their best attempt ever at a Stanley Cup in '93. I got to know the other players, the coaches and owners. I collected their merchandise and in fact littered my room with it during my teen life. Even then, my obsessive nature was evident as I methodically littered my walls with black and white memorabilia. Having gone through this time with the team, time spent yelling at a TV, jumping up and down, crying, cheering, laughing and singing I could not turn my back on them. So when Gretz left... he did so alone.
Being a fan of the team since then has not been an easy stretch. In most recent years (the years that I rekindled my love of hockey and deepened my fondness yet again with the Kings) the team has been horrific, capping it off last season by finishing 2nd last in the league. It's been frustrating to say the least following a team that not many others do and then have that team be one that aren't very good. None the less, I have held on, held true, held strong... and no doubt forever will.
My obsession has been developed and hos now been officially added to this blog of my obsessions. With that, like the other items, will come more jibber-jabber from me on the subject... especially considering that it's a very exciting time (finally) to be a Kings fan. The youth they have stored is making it a very optimistically bright future ahead. I'll get my shades!
los angeles kings, kings hockey, hockey, nhl