It has almost been eight months to the day since the LA Kings sat atop the hockey world and brought Lord Stanley’s Cup to the City of Angels for the first time. As a tribute to the accomplishment, Andrew D. Bernstein Associates, the official team photographers, have created a photo gallery of some of the most memorable moments of the epic 2012 playoff run, including the banner-raising ceremony at the beginning of the 2013 season.
From January 31 through June, fans at any STAPLES Center sporting event will have the opportunity to visit the photo gallery, free of charge, which has made its home across from aisle 22 on the main concourse next to the Team LA store.
A photo gallery may not sound like anything earth-shattering, but anyone who walks through the doors of the gallery is taken on a life-size, up-close-and-personal adventure through the Kings run to the Stanley Cup via photos, all shot by Bernstein’s group of photographers who, aside from himself, include Noah Graham, Juan Ocampo, Evan Gole and Bernstein’s son, Michael Bernstein.
Tim Leiweke, President and CEO of AEG Sports, asked Bernstein to create a photo exhibition documenting the Kings’ road to the Cup and ultimate victory, and after examining the space where the gallery would be, Bernstein decided on the 55 framed color photos, ranging in size from 16x20 to 40x60.
“The photos were printed large so that they would be impactful to look at individually and as a group,” said Bernstein, who has been shooting the Kings since 1979.
Bernstein’s credibility for photography as well as choosing the actual gallery photos comes from more than 30 years as a sports photographer. He has been the official photographer for 10 championship-winning teams – eight with the Lakers, and one with the Dodgers, in addition to 2012 with the Kings.
Bernstein grew up in New York, as a Rangers fan, and as a hockey fan in general, and found himself caught up in the excitement of ‘Kings fever’ during the run to the Cup.
“It was almost as unbelievable as it was happening as it is looking back on the whole playoff run,” said Bernstein, who was also shooting the NBA Finals during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. “I knew when (Dustin) Penner scored the clinching goal against Phoenix that karma and momentum were on our side. I was lucky to be in the right place to shoot him scoring the goal and the reaction after.”
The photo of Penner happens to be one of the 55 displayed.
One of Bernstein’s favorite photos from the gallery is one taken by Ocampo from above the ice surface during the raising of the championship banner, which includes the banner itself as well as the players below.
“We were the only photographers to get that shot,” said Bernstein. “We planned for it and Juan executed it perfectly.”
In addition to the photos from Bernstein and his team, there are three collages of photos never previously released. One collage features the Stanley Cup with celebrities such as Dwight Howard, Matthew Perry, Michael Vartan, Clayton Kershaw, Martin Short, Colin Hanks and Matt Kemp, among others. Another is shots of the Cup on its Los Angeles tour at landmarks like the Santa Monica Pier, Rodeo Drive, and the Hollywood Sign, to name a few. The last is a collage of personal photos from Kings players and personnel during their private time with the Stanley Cup.
Inside the gallery there is also a green screen where fans can have their photo taken as if they were inside STAPLES Center just as the final horn sounded and confetti fell from the rafters after Game 6 of the Final. Copies of about 25 of Bernstein’s photos are available for purchase in the gallery, as well as a limited edition poster from the Cup tour.
As if all the photos aren’t enough to allow fans to relive the greatest moment in Kings history, a big screen in the back of the gallery shows Game 6 of the Final with the call from longtime Kings TV broadcasters Bob Miller and Jim Fox.
The gallery is a must-see for Kings fans, and perhaps any sports fan in general, as it truly demonstrates a captured essence of a team winning a championship – blood, sweat, missing teeth, champagne-soaked hair and all.
“I was watching the reactions of fans and our own Kings staff as they walked through on opening night and everyone was happy to relive the moments,” Bernstein said.
“That’s all I could ask for.”