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Ready, Set, Hockey!

by Deborah Lew / Los Angeles Kings

Anyone who follows the LA Kings on Instagram (@LAKingsHockey) has no doubt noticed the off-season countdown campaign. As distant as Training Camp seemed when Jeff Carter’s jersey number (77) corresponded with the number of days required to wait, fans have likely become even antsier now that Trevor Lewis’ number (22) has already been put to use.

or everyone eagerly counting the minutes until the open of camp in September, there is actually a wonderfully glorious way to cheat by a few days: LA Kings Hockey Fest ’13, presented by Pizza Hut.

The event returns this year, and takes place on Sunday, September 8, at STAPLES Center, the same site as the last event of its kind in 2011. LA Kings Hockey Fest ’13 is the official start to the 2013-2014 campaign.

“We’ve always intended Hockey Fest to be a big celebration to help kick off our season,” said Kelly Cheeseman, Chief Operating Officer of the Kings and AEG Sports. “We felt the last one, at STAPLES Center, was the best one we’ve ever had, and we’re hoping to recreate that and set the ground work for the year.”

Fans can enter STAPLES Center as early as 8:30 a.m., and will be treated to an array of hockey and LA Kings-related panels, activities, and unique opportunities, some of which are old favorites, some of which are new concepts.

THE ‘TOWN HALL’ MEETING LED BY PRESIDENT/GENERAL MANAGER DEAN LOMBARDI is one of the first items on the menu, and rightfully so. Fans will have the chance to listen to Lombardi talk about the state of the franchise, and Lombardi will be joined by Assistant General Manager, Rob Blake; Head Coach, Darryl Sutter; and Vice President of Hockey Operations and Legal Affairs, Jeff Solomon.

“The State of the Franchise is always a great moment for us. Dean has built a good rapport directly with our fans and our season ticket members, so I enjoy seeing him paint his vision,” Cheeseman said.

THE 2013-2014 LA KINGS ROSTER will be introduced after the Town Hall Meeting, and it will mark the Kings debut of new Kings Ben Scrivens, Daniel Carcillo, Matt Frattin and Jeff Schultz.

THE KIDS PRESS CONFERENCE is back by very popular demand, and will feature a panel of Kings players who will take questions from kids only – hilarity is guaranteed!

“The Kids Press Conference is always one of my favorites,” Cheeseman said. “You can see the players’ personalities, and being able to put them in that situation is fun for us.”

THE ICE CREW CALENDAR RELEASE is coming to Hockey Fest ’13 for the first time, and the 2013-2014 Ice Crew will also be introduced. The Calendar, for which all proceeds benefit the Kings Care Foundation, will be on sale for $19.95, and fans will again have the opportunity to donate a calendar to the USO for $10.

ANALYZING COACHING AND SPECIAL TEAMS is a new piece to this year’s event, and will focus on the breakdown of the power play and penalty kill, and will allow fans to participate by asking questions of the coaching panel.

THE FOX SPORTS WEST PANEL is also a new edition this year, and will introduce the new on-air talent, give fans a glimpse of the direction of the broadcasts, as well as the chance to ask questions and share their ideas.

Another new treat at this year’s Hockey Fest is that fans will have the opportunity to STAR IN THE LA KINGS OPENING VIDEO alongside current players and alumni. The Kings Game Presentation Staff will be filming part of this season’s game-opening sequence, and all fans in attendance will have the opportunity to participate in this unique experience.

Throughout the day, there will be AUTOGRAPH SESSIONS with select Kings players and fans can TOUR THE KINGS LOCKER ROOM FACILITIES.

Fans will be able to PLAY SLED HOCKEY and SKATE ON STAPLES CENTER ICE during the event. Fans wishing to bring their own hockey skates may do so, or skates will be available to rent on site.

BAILEY’S BUDDIES MEMBERSHIPS will also be on sale for $20, with all proceeds going to the Kings Care Foundation.

“If you’re a Kings fan, this is a moment to interact with our front office and our players differently than you’re ever able to when you come to a game,” said Cheeseman. “You’re hands-on directly with our organization, so it’s a completely difference experience.

“It’s the opportunity to come to STAPLES Center for a relatively inexpensive cost, and it’s a fun day, a full day of Kings activities where you can get your mind set on Kings hockey.”

An all-day pass for LA Kings Hockey Fest ’13 presented by Pizza Hut is $20 for Season Ticket Members and Partial Plan Holders, and $25 for the General Public. To purchase passes, go to or call 1-888-KINGS-LA.

It’s a small price to pay for a few cheat days.

Follow on Twitter: @by_DeborahLew

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