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Boot Camp On Ice

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
By Sarah Sotoodeh

On Feb. 1, members of the LA Kings Alumni Association Presented By Toyota stepped onto the ice at STAPLES Center to play a game against members of the Camp Pendleton Hockey Club.

Luc Robitaille, Bernie Nicholls, Daryl Evans, Jim Fox, Rob Blake, Nelson Emerson, Craig Johnson, Marty McSorley and Ian Turnbull participated in the game, with Glen Murray serving as a coach and Pete Demers serving as a trainer.  The game, tied at 7-7 at the end of the third period, went into a shootout in which Fox scored the winning goal. spoke with several members of the LA Kings Alumni Association Presented by Toyota to hear their thoughts on the game and what it felt like playing with fellow Kings alumni.

Q: What did you think of the game?

Nicholls:  I love getting out there, especially playing with Luc and all the guys.  Rob Blake is amazing – I’ve never played with Rob before.  It’s always fun, especially with the guys from Camp Pendleton.

Evans: I thought it was a great game.  They played with quite a high pace.  I think in the beginning, we moved the puck around and we may have surprised them a little bit, but I think once they saw the pace we were playing at, it adjusted out nicely and both teams had some good chances.  I thought the goaltenders played really well.

Fox:  I thought that the level of play of the guys from Camp Pendleton, the marines, was phenomenal.  A lot of guys have played before and they want to test their skills against the old guys who’ve done it in the NHL, and they had some pretty good skills to show.

McSorley: Well I thought that they came out really gung-ho.  From our standpoint they wanted to play.  They were giving it their best and they played with a good pace.  They skated well.  Obviously they are in good shape and it made it fun for us – to pick our game up and play on a level we’re happy with.

Demers: The marines came to play and they played hard.  Being a US Air Force Vietnam era veteran, it was a little bit of bonding between myself and the marine group.  I think it’s great for our organization and that Luc is so committed to building our Alumni Association.  It’s a lot of fun and it’s an honor to be part of it.  I don’t take it for granted.

Q: How did it feel scoring the winning goal in the shootout?

Fox: Well I was not very sure of the rules in the shootout so I just closed my eyes and shot.

Q: What was it like playing with fellow alumni?

Nicholls: Anytime you get a chance to play with former players, it’s always really fun.  Today we had a good group out there and it’s just good to get out and play with them.

Evans: It’s always good to see the guys.  You know there are guys from different eras and I think it’s great when the guys can come together and get on the ice like that.  I think regardless of how much time passes – once you get into an environment like that, it seems like it was yesterday.  Hopefully we will be able to do a lot more events in years to come.

Fox: Our guys are great.  We do a lot of different events all throughout the year – and when you play with guys that you played with before, it’s like you never stopped playing together – it’s like all of a sudden everything is back to normal.

McSorley: It’s always such a blast to get out there to play with the guys.  We say things on the bench that maybe we haven’t said in 15-20 years to each other.  To be on the ice again with Bernie, who I haven’t played with since 1989, it’s really, really fun to get out there.  We’re hockey fans at heart, so to get out there with guys we have a lot of respect for and to have a chance to watch them have so much success is really fun.

Demers: We kind of grew up together and when guys come back to play it’s so much fun.  We laugh and joke in the locker room and then they go on the ice and have fun.  The camaraderie and sense of family that we have in our game is like no other business.
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