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Southland's Hockey Boom

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

Friday night was one of historic proportions for the Kings’ hockey organization, and it wasn't just because of the winning results.

While the Kings skated away to a 3-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes at STAPLES Center in front of 18,230 fans – the club’s 137th consecutive sellout, and 167th overall, the Ontario Reign made their home debut as an American Hockey League franchise 40 miles east.

The Reign erased a three-goal deficit and won their home opener over the Bakersfield Condors, 5-4. The minor league affiliate’s debut in front of home fans at the Citizens Business Bank Arena was anything but minor; they too, sold out.

"Two sold out crowds totaling 27,000 fans supported the LA Kings and Ontario Reign home games on Friday night,” Luc Robitaille said early Saturday.

If there was anyone who still needed proof of the Southland’s hockey boom, well, there you go. Sell-outs for the Kings, who for years, never used to receive such fan support, are a regular occurrence. And now, with the Kings’ future playing a hop-and-a-skip away in Ontario, hockey is truly being embraced in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire.

An old friend has returned, too.

“The LA Kings organization and AEG could not be more proud and thankful for the incredible show of support hockey continues to receive, and it is yet another testament to the growth of the game locally and beyond,” Robitaille said. “ It is fun to introduce as many fans to the great game of hockey as we can at this time.  Both of our teams are aiming to have strong seasons. Overall this is a great moment for hockey in California."

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