By Andrew Kallick | Special to LAKings.com
Running, reading, and regaling are essentially all it takes for an In-arena Host like Jay Flats to do his job.
“My job is literally running and reading. I will run from one place to another, up stairs and down escalators, and get ready for when I hear ‘Alright. Go for Jay,’” Flats said.
Flats is entering his third season as the In-Arena Host for the LA Kings. He interacts with the fans from the time the puck is dropped until the final whistle blows. Before his current position, Flats served for a year as a member of the Ice Crew.
Fans may know him as the guy that hands out the prizes for the games between periods, however, his job entails much more.
On a typical game day, Flats arrives at STAPLES Center around 2 p.m. and has a production meeting with the game entertainment staff. The game entertainment staff includes the Ice Crew, Bailey, Director of Game of Presentation Jon Adams and other members of the team that help to put on the show that goes on during the game.
After the meeting, Flats goes over his script for the night. After one last meeting, Flats is upstairs, greeting fans and promoting causes by selling raffle tickets or facilitating postcard writing to troops overseas for Operation Gratitude.
“I’ve always wanted to give back and this job allows me to do that,” Flats said. “Whether it’s helping to raise money by selling raffle tickets that go to the Kings Care Foundation or if [the Kings] need somebody to host, I’m always willing to take on that live event role. It’s a good feeling to know that you’re helping to make a difference.”
Flats’ curtain opens when the players hit the ice. He starts in the top level to select Kings fans that look deserving of moving from their seats to seats in the front row, right up against the glass. He has the ability to give once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to Kings fans.
From there, Flats sprints down to the first level, often prompting security officers to stop him because he is running so fast. On the ice, Flats runs all of the promotional games in which fans take part.
“Once we hit the ice, it’s really on me to make sure things go right,” Flats said. “I only get nervous when it’s the big prizes.”
Over the past three seasons, Flats has had the opportunity to give away prizes as big as Toyota trucks.
Last season, on Fan Appreciation Day, Flats remembers giving away a Toyota truck to a fan and Flats and the entire family have become very friendly. According to Flats, the fan put Kings decals on the car. The fan’s car had just broken down and the new one could not have come at a better time.
“It’s cool to see something you’ve given away actually means something to a fan. Those kind of stories can make everything worthwhile,” Flats said.
Flats’ most memorable experience as In-Arena Host was the first home playoff game last season.
“It was so loud and so rowdy and such an unbelievable event just to be a part of. Being a part of the show that night was awesome,” Flats said.
Flats has been a performer his entire life. He went on a choir scholarship to a community college in Florida and worked at theme parks in Orlando. During the weekends, Flats works as a tour guide at Universal Studios in Hollywood. He also does stand-up comedy as well as crowd warm-ups for a variety of television shows.
As for the future, Flats is happy with the Kings family of which he has become a strong part. Flats wants to be a game show host and give away somebody else’s money for a living.
“Any chance I get to perform in front of a live crowd, I definitely take advantage of it,” Flats said. “I’ve been a performer my entire life and what type of performance is the only thing that changes. I feed off of the energy of the crowd.”