LOS ANGELES – The National Hockey League (NHL) – 50 years ago tomorrow – officially granted the Los Angeles Kings franchise as the NHL expanded from its “Original Six” to 12 teams. On February 9, 1966, six conditional franchises were granted including the Kings.
Tomorrow also helps the Kings officially kick-off their 50th Anniversary Celebration, which will conclude with the 2017 NHL® All-Star Game at STAPLES Center. The game on January 29 is the highlight of All-Star Weekend (January 28-29) and features the popular NHL All-Star Skills Competition(™) and NHL Fan Fair.
“This is a great week in the history of Los Angeles sports and the history of hockey,” said Kings President, Business Operations and Hockey Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille, who was the first future Kings player to be born following the NHL announcement on February 9, 1966. “We have taken great pride in helping lead expansion to the West Coast and to California, where the game continues to grow at a rapid rate, in particular. We are excited to celebrate this great milestone with our loyal fans and we are looking forward to a tremendous 50th Anniversary and also ahead to the next 50 years of LA Kings hockey.”
To help highlight the anniversary tomorrow in Boston, the Kings will wear their Vintage (Gold) Jerseys. The telecast on FOX Sports West – the Kings Live pregame show starts at 3:30 pm, the game at 4 pm (PT) -- will also feature interviews with original Kings captain Bob Wall and Kings Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne, who will both be in Boston as special guests of the Kings.
A special commemorative 50th Anniversary logo will be unveiled tomorrow on the Kings/FOX Sports West telecast during the club’s pregame show. That logo -- which will be featured in an accompanying Kings merchandise line – will be featured at center ice at STAPLES Center to begin the 2016-17 season before it changes to the NHL All-Star Game logo near the start of the 2017 calendar year. The Kings will wear a special 50th Anniversary patch on their jerseys that entire season.
The team at a later date will also unveil a special 50th Anniversary Jersey, which will be worn by the team during various games during the 2016-17 season, and the club will wear past Kings jerseys during warm-ups at select games to benefit the Kings Care Foundation.
The Kings will host a 50th Anniversary Season Opening Weekend at the start of next season, which will feature several fan-friendly events, special appearances by several former legendary Kings players and the Kings serving as the presenting sponsor of a charity gala. The Kings Care Foundation will soon unveil details of their new “Forever 50” program with multiple local community activations focused on three main initiatives: Education, Recreation and Health. The season itself will include several appearances by past Kings All-Star players as part of the club’s celebration of the 2017 NHL All-Star Game over the next 11-plus months.
Near the beginning of the 2016-17 season the Kings will be adding a new storied monument that will exist amongst the other legendary statues outside STAPLES Center. This monument -- made of bronze, granite, and glass -- will serve to commemorate 50 seasons of Kings hockey and will feature a tribute to our franchise’s greatest moments and greatest players. Spanning more than 35 feet, the monument will also provide Kings Season Ticket Members the unique opportunity to have their name etched in stone by making a contribution to the Kings Care Foundation. Donors will receive their name engraved in the wall and a commemorative gift recognizing their contribution to the Kings and the Kings Care Foundation. Limited space is available.
The Kings have partnered with Heritage Werks, the leading provider of archival and heritage services for professional sports teams, major corporations, luxury and fashion brands. The company’s team of experts is already discovering and documenting the history of the team to inform celebrations for the 50th Anniversary season. Once established, the Kings’ new heritage and archival program – the LA Kings Legacy Collection -- will help the team honor and celebrate the players who have made the game great since 1966. Central to this program is the development of a web-based digital archive, which will be unveiled at a later date, that will help the Kings create authentic and accurate heritage programs to engage fans worldwide.
Said Kings Chief Operating Officer Kelly Cheeseman: “It is a great opportunity for the LA Kings organization to look back at our long, storied history. You only get one chance to celebrate something as incredibly significant as a 50th Anniversary and we believe we have a lot to offer our fans as we give back and say ‘thank you’ for the tremendous support we have received and continue to receive.”
The Kings-Boston game tomorrow begins a season-high seven-game road trip for the Kings. The game, which begins at 4 p.m. (PT), will air on FOX Sports West and KABC 790 with pre-game shows beginning at 3:30 p.m. All seven games will be broadcast on FOX Sports West (Nick Nickson/Jim Fox) and KABC (Jon Rosen/Daryl Evans).