Sunday evening may not have had all the glitz and glamour of the previous night in which the sweater of Luc Robitaille was lifted high to the rafters amongst hockey greats, family, friends and 18,000 screaming fans, but the Gala honoring Luc's achievement was definitely one to remember.
"I don't think there's ever been a person over the forty years of the Kings Organization who has made a greater impact," Shawn Hunter, President of AEG Sports, said.
That impact was celebrated as Luc's family, friends, a host of celebrities and elite members of Kings history gathered in the Ballroom of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Marina Del Rey, Calif., to pay homage to No. 20, raising over 215,000 dollars for Kings Care, which raises money to improve the lives of those living in the Greater Los Angeles Area, and Shelter for Serenity, founded by Luc and Stacia Robitaille's to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The nearly 500 people in attendance were treated to a magnificent night that began with a welcome from former host of "The Man Show" and current FM Morning Radio Show Host, Adam Carolla, along with Legendary Sports Newscaster Jim Hill, and appearances by numerous Kings greats.
As the walls of the Ballroom flashed pictures of Luc throughout his entire career, various members of the Kings Organization and former teammates took to the stage to share their favorite Robitaille stories.
Kings President and General Manager Dean Lombardi noted that he didn't really know Luc as a player, since he has only been with the organization for six months, but shared a story about a scouting report that landed on his desk on Jan. 20, 1984, when Lombardi was working for the Minnesota North Stars.
The report was on a youngster from Quebec named Luc Robitaille suggesting that he had "No quickness. No separation even when given a head start. Average hands. Small. Weak. A nose for the net, but will not get there in the NHL. Minor Leagues at Best."
Lombardi added that the report, though not inaccurate, was simply incomplete and did not evaluate Luc's will and desire to be the best. "This is Luc's Night," Lombardi stated, "It's a celebration of his will. A will that will transcend generations."
Former LA Kings great, Marty McSorley agreed.
"Luc was never intimidated and never worried about another team being too tough," he said. "Luc always played for the moment and did not play for the records."
Regardless of his motivation, Robitaille set numerous records over the course of his career, retiring as the highest scoring left wing (668-726=1,394) in NHL history, a virtual lock for the NHL's Hall of Fame. Colorado Avalanche Assistant Coach and former King Tony Granato said that he looks forward to Luc's celebration when that induction occurs, which Robitaille is eligible for in 2009.
The audience was treated to a four-song set from Ondrasik, Five For Fighting's lead singer, playing "(It's not easy) Superman" for Luc's sons Steven and Jesse, as well as two of his major hits, "100 Years " and "World" and a song from his latest album Two Lights
, called "65 Mustang.".
Luc concluded the evening by stating, "It's been a dream. I just wanted to play hockey when I was a kid. Now there's a guy singing songs to me."
Note: Beyond the players who spoke former Kings Alumni in attendance included: Mike Donnelly, Steve Duchesne, Daryl Evans, Jim Fox, Garry Galley, Bob Kubelski, Jari Kurri, Berry Melrose, Bernie Nichols, Larry Playfair, Larry Robinson, Dave Taylor Rogie Vachon, Jay Wells and John Wolf.