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Hangin' with the coolest cat in the League

Friday, 10.24.2008 / 10:15 AM / Super Saturday

By Bridie Beeson - LosAngelesKings.com

Training Bailey is no easy task. Taming a wild animal can be a tricky.

Every game day, I have to drive to the Staples Center and take the elevator down to the event level, where Bailey lives in his cage. I then move Bailey into his locker room for him to get ready. Bailey needs all of his props with him, like the infamous drum he loves to bang so the crowd will cheer "Go Kings Go!" Or if we play the Ducks, I need his duck-hunting gear. 

Bailey has many different costumes to change into throughout the game. He is quite the diva, because he did not come from the jungle, but rather got his start at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Once I have Bailey set up in his locker room, we have to eat so Bailey can give the crowd a great show. Before game time I go to the Zamboni tunnel and get a head set, which allows me to find Bailey if he gets loose. Bailey may be one of the nicest lions out there, but he is a wild animal, so I have to keep him on a short lease. Bailey loves to wander off, mostly because all of his fans want pictures with him.

At the start of the game I make sure that I have a Sharpie marker on me so his fans can get his autograph. Bailey has to make many appearances throughout a game and it is my job to make sure Bailey makes it to every one of them. While going to one of Bailey's appearances, many of his fans stop to take photos. Bailey loves his fans, but many times we don't have time to stop and take photos because he has to be somewhere at a certain time. It's my job to tell fans, "Sorry, Bailey would love to take a photo but we have to go."

Bailey often loses track of time; I don't even think Bailey knows how to tell time. This is something I am going to have to teach him. My most important job is to keep Bailey and his fans safe. Bailey does not have the best sight so I have to make sure the little Kings fans don't get hurt and keep Bailey safe from the big Kings fan when they get a little rough with him.

Bailey gets really sweaty and smelly during a game, but I make sure I keep him dry and smelling good. Bailey often asks for things throughout a game and I have to run and go get them for him. Between periods Bailey goes on the ice in different outfits, like a referee, Air Bailey or a duck hunter. It is my job to make sure Bailey looks his best.

At the end of a game and a long day of running around the Staples Center, I have to clean out the locker room and put Bailey back in his cage. I make sure the fan is blowing on him to cool him; Bailey is extremely sweaty from running around. Once I lock up his cage and put away my head set, I'm beat. I had one long, hard workout running around after him. I drive home and pass out from exhaustion. Then I get to do it all again for the next game or appearance.

But I love what I do. I get to hang out and train with one of the coolest cats in the League.
Quote of the Day

Great players need great players to play with. That's why we'll have a training camp and we'll find who the best two guys are suited to play with Stamkos.

— Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness on Steven Stamkos' potential linemates for the 2014-15 season