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by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings

They came from all over Southern California, just to welcome back an old friend.

Hundreds of fans lined up outside STAPLES Center Saturday, as tickets went on sale for the Kings 2005-06 season. People arrived as early as 5:45 a.m. just to get a taste of what promises to be one of the most exciting seasons in Kings history.

"We got here six in the morning," claimed Rob Kaplen, who along with his friend Byron Carrillo were two of the first in line. "But was worth it. Thank god hockey is back."

There was a festival atmoshere surrounding the ticket launch, with several present Kings, such as Luc Robitaille, Mattias Norstrom, Derek Armstrong and Eric Belanger, helping to work the ticket windows. Meanwhile, former Kings Jim Fox, Ian Turnbull, Dave Taylor and Daryl Evans signed autographs and shook hands with the fans in line.

"This is great," Bellanger said. "We didn't really know what to expect. To see so many people show up, it shows you that people really care about the game."

Along with the ticket launch, many of the fans stuck around to catch the King's practice, which was free and open to the public. Tonight's action will begin at 4 p.m. with the AHL Future's Game, followed by the Kings vs. Mighty Ducks at 7:30 p.m.
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