After juniors, the Kings drafted me in the ninth round, 171st overall, in 1984. Going into the draft, which was held at the old Forum in Montreal, I didn’t really know what my expectations were. I wanted my chance and I knew that I wanted to be on a list and I got onto the Kings list. I knew from that day on I had a chance and that’s the way I looked at it. I didn’t care what round I was taken in.
The 1984 Draft is when Mario Lemieux and Peter Svoboda were the top picks. That was when Mario went No. 1 and he said that if he didn’t have a contract he wouldn’t go to the table. It just seemed like that draft took forever. I think it started at like 1 p.m., they had a break around 4 p.m., and my name came up around 5:30 or 6 p.m. I can tell you this about the long wait -- the hot dogs in Montreal are really good.
I must have had about five or six hot dogs by the time they announced my name. I ran down the steps at the Forum and almost everybody had left, even most of the Kings scouts. The dasher boards were up and served as the cut off to the floor, where all the teams were. There was a policeman there and he would not let me onto the arena floor. I had told him that they had just called my name. He still didn’t believe me because all the tables were half empty for every team.
Pierre Lacroix, who is now an executive in Colorado, was an agent back then and he saw what was happening. He told the officer that it was true and he let me through to meet my new team. When I got to the Kings table Alex Smart was there. He was a scout for the Kings. I remember John Wolf, who worked for the Kings as the assistant to the general manager, looked at me and asked me who I was. I tried to fake my English and said, ‘I am Luc Robitaille.’ He said, ‘Well, I don’t have anything for you. I gave everything away.’
But then he gave me the lapel pin off his coat and wrote down my address. The entire summer went by and I wasn’t sure if I had given him the wrong address. I kept asking my dad if he thought the Kings had forgotten me. I ended up getting the invitation to Training Camp at the beginning of August.
If I had to put together a scouting report of myself as a player then, it would have read that I was a little small and there was limited foot speed. That was always a problem that I had. I think the one skill that really found me was that there was more to me than my skating. For those who watched me, you saw that I cared and that I had a lot of heart when it came to the game. I think that is the reason the Los Angeles Kings and one of their scouts then, Alex Smart, drafted me. I owe my career to Alex Smart.