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A Pair of Clubs

by Doug Ward / Los Angeles Kings

With sold-out crowds regularly rocking STAPLES Center, the atmosphere at a Kings game is among the most vibrant and engaging in the NHL. Fans are passionate and knowledgeable, the decibel level soars, and the building practically shakes off its foundation.

For some diehard fans, however, that’s not enough.

Two new clubs have been launched this season, designed to offer some of the Kings’ most dedicated followers a unique game day experience that is tailored especially for them.

The Kings Army is a supporter group that sits together in section 210, enthusiastically backing the home team, while the LA Kings Crown Club offers seats on the 100 level, near the glass, and provides access, service, and a connection to both the Kings and other members of the elite coalition.

“We believe that our two new clubs - the Kings Army and the LA Kings Crown Club - are ideal fits for certain segments of our fan base,” said Kings Chief Operating Officer Chris McGowan.

Brett Ellen, who serves as President of the Crown Club Advisory Board, would like members to relive the bygone glory of the Forum Club, a place where L.A.’s movers and shakers would mix their love of sports with their drive for success in the business world. When the Kings called Inglewood home, the Forum Club had a reputation as the place to see and be seen. Ellen believes the Crown Club can be all that and more.

“We want to make the Crown Club the most unbelievable experience possible,” said Ellen, whose regular gig is as President and CEO of American Financial Network. “The idea behind the Crown Club is to make it an even better experience than the Forum Club. There is an eliteness that goes with it.”

Before the Kings moved downtown to STAPLES Center, the Forum Club was the only option for pre and post-game meeting, greeting, and eating. The advent of LA Live has made every game a happening, and Ellen sees the Crown Club as an extension of that.

“A Kings game is an event,” Ellen said. “People want entertainment value. They want an opportunity to meet other people and do business together and the Crown Club provides that opportunity.”

Crown Club membership features four season seats near the glass, parking adjacent to the arena with the option for valet service, and membership to private areas of STAPLES Center including the Lexus Club. With membership capped at 200, the Crown Club isn’t for everyone. But Ellen said those that do join will find themselves in elite company.

“It’s for people who are affluent and passionate about the Kings,” Ellen said. “People want to work with people who have common interests. There are networking opportunities; there is entertainment value and business value combined.”

The Crown Club also offers entry to the elite enclaves of STAPLES Center, including the four suites that have been converted into an outlet of Hyde Lounge, one of Hollywood’s most exclusive clubs. There are also after-parties following every Saturday game at the Lexus Club and other areas on the LA Live campus. And these are no ordinary meet-and-greets; the get-togethers include visits from Kings players.

“One of the great things about hockey players is that they are down-to-earth and approachable,” Ellen said. “That’s one of the great values of the Crown Club. You can meet players after the game.”

Members can mix business with pleasure by conducting client meetings at STAPLES Center, and a concierge is available to cater to a member’s every whim.

“The concierge service alone is worth what you spend on two seats,” said Ellen. “They take great care of you.”

Ultimately, what the Crown Club offers is access - to people, players, and opportunity.

“The Crown Club is 200 of the most influential people in Los Angeles coming together to enjoy Kings hockey, network and talk business,” Ellen said.

The Royal Army is a Kings supporter group based on the type of fan clubs that are popular in Europe. The Royal Army’s mission is simple: “To unite Kings supporters, and help create the best atmosphere for our beloved Kings, and cheer them on while they lead us to glory!”

Lifelong Kings fan Lindsay Shaver founded the group, along with Alex Serena. Shaver also supports the LA Galaxy soccer club and has taken a page from that sport’s passionate fan base.

“We have learned a lot about the support culture through soccer. We are trying to bring a European supporter feel to STAPLES Center. We believe there is a trickle down effect and if we support the team, the players will want to play harder.”

While Shaver has drawn inspiration from devoted fans across the pond, she needed to look no further than the mirror to see what a dedicated Kings fan looked like. Hockey is her passion. She practically grew up at the Forum, where her dad, Ron, first purchased season tickets when she was just a year old. If Shaver wasn’t watching hockey, she was probably out in the street, playing it with her brother, Jeff.

The group, whose website address is, is active in social media with a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Just don’t expect to see too many mid-game missives.

“Sometimes we get so caught up in the game that we don’t send anything out until after it’s over,” she said.

Although the Royal Army operates in conjunction with the Kings, the group, which includes 27 season seat holders and a core membership of 10, retains its autonomy.

“This group is organic and we want it to stay that way,” Shaver said, who by day is the office manager at family-owned Shaver Specialty in Torrance. “The Kings support us, but we run it.”

Member David Baltazaar was responsible for both the website and logo design, while
Jason and Josh Welsher, who own and operate To Die for Clothing, handled the design and silk screening of T-shirts.

In addition to backing the home team every time it takes the ice at STAPLES Center, the Kings Army organizes trips to road games and gathers for viewing parties.

“This is our first season,” Shaver said. “We know it will be a lot of work, but we are up for it.”

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