Kings fans might best know Alberta as the Canadian province that was home to Wayne Gretzky before he migrated south to Los Angeles in 1988. Alberta, in fact, has been very kind to the Kings over the years, sending the team a long line of impact players, a list that includes Bill “Cowboy” Flett, Grant Fuhr, Kelly Hrudey and, of course, our very own head coach, Darryl Sutter (Viking, Alberta).
The province’s substantial contributions to the hockey world, however, are just a small part of what Alberta has to offer the rest of the world.
Yes, Alberta’s world-class human resources - Jarome Iginla, Lanny McDonald, and Mark Messier are among the all-time greats to call the province home – are well known to hockey fans. But what might come as a surprise to some is that the province’s natural resources are equally awe-inspiring.
In addition to breathtaking panoramas, Alberta is home to the Canadian Rockies – which offer some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world. It is one of the few places on earth blessed with the conditions that create the legendary, airy “champagne” powder that is so revered by skiers and boarders worldwide.
It’s that rare combination of people and place that has made Alberta a popular destination for the LA Kings and their fans.
“We are thrilled that Alberta is the preferred travel destination of AEG and the LA Kings,” said Travel Alberta’s CEO, Bruce Okabe. “Southern California is a key market for Alberta and this partnership allows us to connect directly with the type of travelers that are energized by the type of authentic experiences Alberta has to offer.”
Alberta offers Californians a world apart. It is a diverse place with urban charm, cultural jewels and unique activities. Remarkably, it’s all within reach, as the international airports in Calgary and Edmonton are each a short three-hour flight from Los Angeles.
Alberta draws more visitors from the state of California than any other state, probably because the province offers activities that are so well suited for Californians. In many ways, the typical Alberta visitor mirrors the typical LA Kings fan: They both tend to be young, or young-at-heart, and they both love the thrill and emotional charge of doing things, and experiencing authentic moments.
Kings fans recently had the opportunity to sample the wonders of Alberta at the Nokia Plaza in downtown Los Angeles. Thousands gathered for a free, experiential event to see what Alberta is all about on November 4. Visitors were treated to a taste of winter with a snowblast booth and the opportunity to ride a snowboard on a simulator that effectively transported them to the snowy Canadian Rockies. Participants also experienced Northern Lights (aurora borealis) via a green screen and touched a life-size ice sculpture of sled dogs.
The event offered a unique, interactive insight into what makes a journey to Alberta so special. It also served as a prime example of why Travel Alberta and the Kings make for such ideal partners.
“This partnership allows us to get in front of consumers in a unique and exciting way,” said Shelley Grollmuss, Executive Director, North America at Travel Alberta. “The event at Nokia Plaza is a perfect example. Instead of doing traditional advertising we can bring Alberta experiences to Southern Californians so they start to get an idea of what a vacation to Alberta would be like.”
Alberta’s (remember to breathe) campaign embodies the Alberta vacation experience, and can mean different things to different travelers. To some, it’s a reminder to take a break from daily life and find solace in travel. For others, it’s a reminder to find pace as they run from one great experience to the next.
In March, Travel Alberta will be maximizing the partnership to introduce authentic summer vacation experiences available to travelers.
Among those unique summer adventures is the Calgary Stampede, a 10-day event held annually in July. Regarded as one of the world’s biggest and best rodeos, the Calgary Stampede attracts more than one million visitors per year.
If there is any doubt that the Kings and Alberta share a common bond, consider this: Flett, the franchise’s first fan favorite, earned his “Cowboy” nickname while riding at rodeos in Alberta, including the Calgary Stampede.
Learn more by viewing these special YouTube videos (www.youtube.com/TravelAlbertaCanada) and for more information on Alberta’s experiences visit www.travelalberta.com. To check out videos featuring Sutter’s Day with the Stanley Cup in Viking, visit LAKings.com/KingsVision (and enter Sutter in the search box).