It's not always easy to take a man at his word, but businessman Chris Byrne had a good feeling in May when he received an email from Los Angeles Kings governor Tim Leiweke. Based on their correspondence, if everything went according to plan, Byrne, a longtime Kings fan, could be the host of his very own Stanley Cup party.
It started weeks earlier, when the Kings were struggling to secure the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Byrne, whose roofing materials company has had Kings season tickets since the team played at the Great Western Forum, attended an event held by Leiweke. Though the presentation was intended to discuss plans for a football stadium in Los Angeles, the Kings governor spent much of his time talking about his hockey team. Inspired by Leiweke's passion, Byrne sent an email weeks later sharing his love for the Kings. It was a spirited message that included one small request.
"I just ended it with, assuming the Kings win the Cup, he'd make a fan from the beginning very happy if he would bring the Cup to an Irish pub in West Hollywood that we own a little part of," Byrne told NHL.com. "Amazingly enough, he wrote back the next day and said, 'Absolutely.' It's a tribute to that organization."
By the time Leiweke got in touch with Byrne, the Kings had already knocked off the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and had won the first two games in their Western Conference semifinal against the St. Louis Blues. A Kings fan practically since the team's arrival in Los Angeles, Byrne was confident the team could win the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. But the 60-year-old wasn't completely sure if the iconic trophy would really make an appearance at his bar, Rock & Reilly's, in West Hollywood.
"They were playing St Louis and I told a guy, 'They're going to sweep St. Louis and win the Cup.' I felt it. After they beat Vancouver, I thought they were the best team there," Byrne said. "Time went by and he [Leiweke] made good on his word. He's a really good guy."
Sure enough, Leiweke came through on the promise he made almost four months earlier when he brought the Stanley Cup to a party held last week at Rock & Reilly's. Team president Luc Robitaille also was on hand.
"I have three girls who grew up watching the Kings. Kristen, my daughter, got her picture taken with Luc near the end of the party," Byrne said. "She told me later on it was the best day of her life."
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