For LA Kings organist Dieter Ruehle, the 2017 World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers reminded him a lot of his two Stanley Cup Final experiences with the Kings.
Ruehle, who plays the organ for both teams, enjoys being around situations where the games are meaningful and the entertainment level is high.
This past summer was Ruehle's second season as the Dodgers' organist. He especially enjoyed being a part of the World Series, although he wishes the Dodgers didn't lose in Game 7 to the Houston Astros.
"Going to the World Series was such a cool experience. The pageantry and entertainment perspective reminded me very much of the Stanley Cup Finals of 2012 and 2014," Ruehle said. "There was obviously one difference. I had never seen the visiting team win a championship right there in front of me. That was so surreal. But, other than the Game 7 result, it was so much fun to be a part of the World Series."
After spending a captivating summer with the Dodgers, who finished with baseball's best record and won the National League pennant for the first time since 1988, Ruehle is back with the Kings playing his trademark hits as well as some new pieces.
Ruehle, who is nationally renowned as one of the top organists in sports, said he has added the "Rick and Morty" theme, "Thunder" by Imagine Dragons, "Baila Esta Cumbia" by Selena and "Shape of You" by Ed Sheeran and many others to his already-impressive repertoire for this season.
"It's been a lot of fun being back in hockey this season. The Kings are near the top of their division now which just adds to the fun," he said.
Ruehle noted that the playlists between baseball and hockey are "similar" but there are a few pieces he played at Dodger Stadium that don't really fit into a hockey game. During baseball, he tries to add more weather-related hits like 'Summer in the City,' 'Summer Breeze,' 'Heat Wave,' and 'Here Comes the Sun.'
Though the last baseball season was a memorable experience for Ruehle, this hockey season has provided him with some incredible moments as well.
Ruehle got to join the Kings as they played two preseason games in China during the preseason. These were the first NHL sanctioned games that took place in China and Ruehle liked seeing fans in a different country enjoy his music.
"Being part of history in China felt really neat," he said. "The fans seemed so interested in learning a sport that maybe wasn't that familiar to them. There was just so much positive energy and enthusiasm at both Kings' games in China."
Ruehle also enjoyed geeking out for the Kings' first "Star Wars Night" since 2010. In that contest, Ruehle wore a Jedi outfit, much to fans' delight.
"I'm a Star Wars fan, so I dressed up as a Jedi Master, and they put me up on the video boards live as I was playing," Ruehle siad
There have also been a few updates and changes that have enhanced Ruehle's sound. According to Ruehle, the new Hammond Sk1 organ at STAPLES Center adds a hint of nostalgia to his playing this year.
"The sound of it reminds me of the original organ at The Forum, a Hammond X-66, which was the first organ I ever played there," he said. "Hopefully for Kings' fans that went to games at The Forum in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the sound brings back happy memories for them as well."
Though the transition back to hockey has been seamless for Ruehle, his busy summer schedule and the Dodgers' playoff run made it feel like the baseball and hockey seasons have blended together.
"Offseason? What offseason?" he joked.