The Los Angeles Kings
entered the NHL in 1967 as one of six teams that joined during expansion. The team's first owner, Jack Kent Cooke, named the team the "Kings" and chose the colors of purple and gold because they were traditionally associated with royalty. This color scheme was also worn by the Los Angeles Lakers, which Kent also owned.
The Kings won the first game in their history, beating the Philadelphia Flyers
4-2. In their first season, the Kings finished second in the Western Division behind the Flyers. They were the only expansion team to have a winning record at home that year. They qualified for the playoffs but lost to the Minnesota North Stars in the first round.
Their second season saw success as well, as they finished fourth in the Western Division for the final playoff spot. They beat the Oakland Seals in the first round, but were swept by the St. Louis Blues
in the second round and eliminated from the playoffs.
In 1972, the Kings made two solid acquisitions that would help them make playoff runs the following two seasons. They brought in goalie Rogatien Vachon
from the Canadiens and former Toronto Maple Leaf winger Bob Pulford
as their coach. Under Pulford, the team went from the worst defensively in the League to one of the best.
The Kings made the playoffs but were eliminated in the first round in both 1973-74 and 1974-75. After the '74 season, the Kings acquired center Marcel Dionne
in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings
. In his first season in L.A., Dionne scored 40 goals and totaled 94 points. Once again, the regular season-success didn't translate into the postseason, as they only made it past the first round before being eliminated by the Boston Bruins
in seven games.
In 1987, Bruce McNail bought the Kings and began a new era in the team's history. Not only did he change the team colors to black and silver, but he also acquired "The Great One," Wayne Gretzky
, in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers
The acquisition of Gretzky didn't bring the Kings a Stanley Cup. They made it to the Final in 1993 but lost in five games to the Canadiens, giving Montreal the 24th Cup in its franchise history.
Since the acquisition of Gretzky, the Kings have remained competitive out west, and are looking to ride players like Ryan Smith
, Anze Kopitar
and Rob Scuderi
back to the playoffs and bring home the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.