LOS ANGELES (April 10) - AEG, the world's leading sports and live entertainment company, has announced the following changes to the front office of the LA Kings hockey club. Luc Robitaille has been named club President and will now oversee all hockey and business operations, and Rob Blake has been named Vice President and General Manager, and will direct all day to day hockey operations for the organization.
The announcement of both promotions was made by Dan Beckerman, President and CEO of AEG, the parent company of the LA Kings.
In addition, Beckerman today announced Dean Lombardi, who has served as Kings President and General Manager since 2006, and Darryl Sutter, who has served as the club's Head Coach since 2011, have been relieved of their current duties.
The Kings are scheduled to host a news conference tomorrow, Tuesday, at STAPLES Center in the Chick Hearn Press Room. It is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. and will be streamed live at LAKings.com.
Kings season media and photo credentials will allow access into STAPLES Center for tomorrow's press event, which is scheduled to feature Beckerman, Robitaille and Blake.
"This was an extremely difficult decision and was made with an enormous amount of consideration for what we have accomplished in our past. But the present and future of our organization is the highest priority," said Beckerman. "Words cannot express our gratitude and appreciation for what Dean and Darryl have accomplished for the Kings franchise. They built this team and helped lead us to two Stanley Cup Championships and will forever be remembered as all-time greats in Kings history. But with that level of accomplishment comes high expectations and we have not met those expectations for the last three seasons. With the core players we have in place, we should be contending each year for the Stanley Cup. Our failure to meet these goals has led us to this change."
Robitaille, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, has served as Kings President, Business Operations the last 10 years. The highest scoring left wing in NHL history, under Robitaille's leadership the Kings have had a tremendous overall impact on the Kings Business Operations department - revenue has doubled -- including the areas of Sponsorship Sales and Renewal, Fan and Customer Relations, Game Entertainment, Media Relations and Broadcasting. Since 2007-08, the Kings have increased or maintained their number of sellouts at STAPLES Center each full season, and the team concluded the 2016-17 season with a sellout streak of 213 consecutive regular season games and 246 consecutive contests overall (both team records). Under Robitaille the Kings were named the Sports Team of the Year at the Sports Business Journal's Sports Business Awards event in 2015.
In 19 seasons as an NHL player, including 14 with the Kings, Robitaille - the all-time Kings leader in goals scored (557) and a former Kings captain -- recorded 1394 points (668-726=1394) and won a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2002. His jersey was retired by the Kings in 2007.
Blake, who is also a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, becomes the ninth general manager in team history. He was named to his most recent role of Vice President/Assistant General Manager in 2013 and has held the position for last four seasons. Prior to that Blake, a former Kings captain, worked in the National Hockey League's Player Safety department for three years.
During his time as an executive with the team, Blake has also served as the general manager of the Kings' primary minor league affiliate, the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League (that franchise won the Calder Cup in Championship in 2015). In addition, Blake served as General Manager of Canada's National Men's Team for the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, and he worked on the Management Staff for Team Canada's entry in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
In 20 seasons as an NHL player, including 14 with the Kings, Blake recorded 777 points (240-537=777) and he won a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001. He was in his front office role with the Kings when the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2014m and he had his jersey retired by the Kings in 2015.
"This restructuring of the front-office will establish a single leader of the organization that will provide a unified vision, focus and alignment between the team side and the business side," said Beckerman. "It mirrors the same structure we recently implemented with the LA Galaxy and it will not only enable the integration of these two sides of the club into a single organization but will bring symmetry between the Kings and Galaxy."
Lombardi was hired by the Kings on April 21, 2006. His overall regular season record as the club's general manager is 425-339-104 over 868 games (the games and wins are most among Kings general managers all-time; his 11-year tenure is the longest as well) and in the playoffs the Kings were 46-35. Lombardi and his executive staffs were instrumental in the Kings winning the Stanley Cup in both 2012 and 2014.
Sutter was hired by the Kings on December 20, 2011. His overall record as the club's head coach is 225-147-53 over 425 games in the regular season (the wins are most among Kings head coaches all-time and the games coached is second all-time) and in the playoffs the Kings were 42-27 (the 42 wins is also a franchise record). Sutter and his coaching staffs played pivotal roles in the Kings winning the two Stanley Cups.