With two hockey enthusiasts’ entry into the rink industry, a simple business transaction has quickly evolved into something of an NHL-style coronation.
Earlier this year, the Panorama City-based facility was re-christened as the Los Angeles Kings Valley Ice Center. The rink branding is proving mutually beneficial.
For owners Scott Floman and Dave Serianne, the LA Kings moniker provides instant name recognition and forges a link to Southern California’s legacy pro franchise. In exchange, Kings officials anticipate a return in terms of increased ticket sales and heightened interest in the world’s greatest ice sport.
“The LA Kings entered into this partnership because we saw this as an excellent opportunity to show our commitment to the local hockey community and help grow the sport of hockey by working closer with a local ice rink,” said Chris Crotty, the team’s fan development manager.
Floman and Serianne assumed ownership of the San Fernando Valley two-ice sheet facility in October of 2010.
“We were thinking about a new name and we were thinking how amazing it would be to be able to support our local professional hockey team,” said Floman, who owns the catering firm Big Screen Cuisine, which services TV and film productions. “We called up our rep (Crotty) and basically pitched it to him.”
Crotty relayed the idea to former Kings great Luc Robitaille, who is now the NHL team’s president of business operations.
As part of the deal, both adult and youth teams based at the facility will be recognized during Kings games at Staples Center. All of the rink's programs - youth in-house, special needs and adult leagues - will have Kings tickets included in their registration fees.
“The Kings see the partnership as not only a ‘thank you’ to adults who’ve been Kings fans for decades, (but as) a great way to build a future generation of Kings fans,” Crotty said. “Every youth hockey player who starts his or her hockey career at the Los Angeles Kings Valley Ice Center will be part of the Kings family.”
The LA Kings Valley Ice Center’s transformation hasn’t been in name only. Under new ownership, the facility has seen extensive renovations, which included repainting the structure’s exterior and interior as well as remodeling the lobby area to include couches and a new pro shop.
Other improvements involved revamping the facility’s two Zambonis and replacing 87 light fixtures with energy-efficient bulbs.
“We have a spectacular spread of lights,” Floman said. “It makes it a lot easier (to see) and it’s brighter.”
The ownership pair has cast a large spotlight on its hockey programs. In addition to 620 adults skating in 12 different divisions, the LA Kings Valley Ice Center is home to two travel programs: the A/B West Valley Wolves and the AA/AAA tier hockey California Heat.
The rink’s in-house program has grown upwards of 90 kids compared to having only 20 when Floman and Serianne took over.
“And that’s in less than a year,” Serianne said proudly.
The rink’s new LA Kings Kids First hockey program has been a catalyst in the growth spurt. To pique hockey interest, neophytes to the sport are provided rental equipment and receive an hour of ice time.
The LA Kings Valley Ice Center also plans to take part in the USA Hockey-sponsored Try Hockey for Free Day on Nov. 5.
A new LA Kings Mighty Mites program for kids ages 5-8 also debuts this season. The 12-week program will follow USA Hockey’s American Development Model guidelines, which focuses heavily on skills opposed to head-to-head competition.
The rink is also the home base for the Condors, a team comprised of special needs players whose disabilities range from autism to seizure disorders. Serianne coaches the outfit, which is only one in Southern California.
Serendipity played a role in Floman and Serianne becoming rink operators. Floman, who describes himself as a businessman “who happened to fall into a sport I love,” knew Serianne from playing recreational hockey.
Serianne has been a fixture as a hockey league organizer in the area, having moved to California from western New York during the roller hockey craze.
The two were having dinner one night when the topic came up.
“Dave expressed that he really wanted to branch out and have his own place,” said Floman. “One of my clients just happened to have owned the property of this rink. As the craziest things happen, I made a phone call and we opened a conversation and then there were negotiations and then, three-and-a-half months later, Dave and I walked into the picture.” Re-printed on LAKings.com courtesy California Rubber Magazine