On Friday night I had the extreme pleasure of watching the Monarchs beat the IceCaps in a very exciting game, but I have to say that it was somewhat tough watching it.
Being a fan of the local St. John's IceCaps, it was strange wearing my LA Kings jersey and being excited to see their future stars facing off against the home team. I got over it pretty quick though as I, in my rink side seats, caught glimpses of the three current Stanley Cup champions who happened to be on Manchester's roster; King, Nolan and Voynov (who is pictured above). King and Voynov were highly impressive to watch (not to say that Nolan wasn't) as both were very hard working the entire time, King especially. It wasn't just the current Stanley Cup ring holders that I was out to see though. It was the future stars of the Los Angeles Kings, like Jones, Vey, Toffoli, Pearson... and I could go on.
Manchester came to St. John's just in time for me though. News out of the hockey world today is saying that the 8 month long NHL lockout is over, which means some of these players will no longer be on the Monarchs roster. If it weren't for the lockout, I probably would not have seen those aforementioned ring holders. I would have still caught a glimpse of those future stars sure, but there was something certainly more exciting for this 20+ year Kings fan having a few of the current champs in town.
Now that lockout is over though, it's time for the big boys in LA to get to work. They have a back to back championship to win after all. I feel bad for Manchester for having to lose some of these prospects to the NHL, but that's the game they and we all love. The AHL fans will still go the games I'm sure. I know I'll be heading down to Mile One Stadium when the Monarchs come back in March. Until then, bring on the NHL!