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Ice Breaker

by Deborah Lew / Los Angeles Kings

It really is a small world.

Just ask Steve Burnell, a Kings Season Ticket Member, whose wife, Heather, found his biological family on two years ago.

The irony is that members of Steve’s biological family are also Season Ticket Members, whose seats are only a few sections away from Steve’s.

Steve was adopted as an infant, and grew up in a very loving home with one brother and one sister.

“I hadn’t always wanted to locate my biological family because I had wonderful parents who have now both passed away,” Steve said. “However, I had always wanted to know what my family looked like, and after I had kids I wanted to know their medical history.”

Heather had tried multiple avenues to locate Steve’s biological family with no luck until using Heather and her sister were able to find a baptism certificate, which listed Steve’s original last name as Duganne. She was then able to find an article and photo of Steve's biological mother when she became a flight attendant.

“We are all so happy since we found Steve's biological family because they are all wonderful people who have welcomed and embraced us as family,” said Heather, who lives in Moorpark with Steve and their two children, Paige (15) and Danny (8).

Steve’s biological family includes two half sisters, Staci and Missy, and one brother, Jon, who was adopted after Steve’s mother felt the need to fill the void left by giving up Steve.

“My biological family has given me a feeling of belonging because I fit in with them so well, and it is a great feeling to know that I am always welcome with my blood relatives and that I have so much in common with many of them,” Steve proclaimed.

One of the most significant common interests, is undoubtedly hockey and the LA Kings, as many members of the Duganne family are Kings fans.

Max Duganne, Steve’s biological cousin, is a Kings Season Ticket Member who used to play hockey at the Forum as a child.

“Hockey acted as an ice breaker for me and especially Heather and Paige when we first met my biological family the day after Thanksgiving two years ago,” explained Steve, who has been a Kings fan for about 20 years. “Hockey has really allowed us to develop a connection with Max and (his wife) Laura because we see them during the intermission of the Kings games we go to.

“The Kings have allowed us to connect with members of Steve's family and have allowed us to develop a close relationship with Max and his wife Laura especially,” agreed Heather, who, along with Paige, speak with Max and Laura most frequently.

“We were there at Staples when they won the Stanley Cup,” said Heather of herself, Paige, Max, and Laura. “It was an incredible moment we will never forget!”

Season Ticket Membership isn’t the only irony in Steve’s short family history.

Steve’s brother in law from his adopted family, Brian Caughlin, actually worked with Steve’s half sister, Staci, for 10 years, and the two became close friends long before they discovered they had Steve in common.

With so much common ground between Steve and his biological family, it was only a matter of time before they discovered their connection. Now, with a little enhancement from hockey and the LA Kings, they should have no problem turning their common interests into shared memories.

Just another example of why hockey is the coolest sport on earth.

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