The Kings recently hosted their annual Fantasy Camp presented by Sungevity.
One of the many members of the Kings Family who participated was Tim Watters, a former club defenseman who has participated the last few seasons.
Watters played for the Kings from seven campaigns (1988-95) as part of a 14-year NHL playing career. One of his highlights of course was being in LA during Wayne Gretzky’s first year (1988-89) with the team, and advancing to the Stanley Cup Final in 1993.
He answered these questions as part of our 50 KINGS series – in honor of our 50th Anniversary -- at LAKings.com:
Q: What was your transition like coming from Winnipeg to Los Angeles?
Watters: It was… LA’s just, they’re two totally different places obviously, and Los Angeles was an awesome change, it was a great change for my family and myself both. We had a young family at that time and hockey-wise it was just a special time to be playing in LA.
Q: Talk about your expectations coming in to play for the Kings, who had just traded for Wayne Gretzky in the offseason.
Watters: Actually I signed with LA and three weeks later, the Gretzky trade happened and I didn’t know what to expect. But like I said earlier it’s a real special time to play in LA and just a fun time with a lot of young guys and some older guys. Together it was a good mix.
Q: What was it like playing in Los Angeles with Wayne Gretzky among others?
Watters: Well I tell people that he played with me. Just kidding. He is a gifted player who not only was a great player on the ice, but he was a really good teammate too and I think that was one of the things that made him so special is that he got along real well with everybody and that was great to see. I didn’t know much about Wayne other than playing against him, but to see him you knew he was a special player when I played against him when I was in Winnipeg. Still to see him play and practice everyday was even more impressive.
Q: Talk about the fan support and the environment in Southern California surrounding those Kings teams.
Watters: I think there’s no better hockey fan than the LA Kings fans. They are, I’ll say, a special breed -- loud, obnoxious and it just made for a great environment to play in. It really was a fun environment for players to play here.
Q: What one moment stood out to you as your favorite memory of your career with the Kings?
Watters: Well when we went to the Finals in ’93 it was special. It was a fun time in that we almost did it but that was a real special run that we made in the playoffs that year.
Q: After you finished playing you initially got into coaching. What inspired you to start your coaching career?
Watters: Well it was a natural progression I guess, at the end of my playing career. I was type of player who would help the young defensemen, assisting them on and off the ice and it was for me at least a natural progression to get into coaching. The end of my playing career with the Kings led me to play and coach with the Phoenix Roadrunners who was the farm team of the Kings at that time.
Q: You spent time as an assistant in the NHL and as a head coach in college? What are the biggest differences between the two?
Watters: It’s a different atmosphere but it is great working with the young talent at college. I’ll say you have to be a well-rounded person because you’re dealing with not just hockey players but students. When you work with pro players they’re basically making money and playing hockey and that’s all they’re doing but when you’re working with a student-athlete that’s really important. You have to really work and understand what those players are going through on the academic side of things as well.
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