For 45 years, in good times and in bad, the Kings have been backed by some of the most passionate, loyal fans in all of sports. So strong is the relationship between the people of Los Angeles and their hockey team, that when the Kings won the Stanley Cup last June, they made it point to share their good fortune with the multitudes who had been so supportive for so long.
There was a parade through the streets of downtown Los Angeles, a memorable rally at STAPLES Center,and a summer of countless meet-and-greets that saw the Stanley Cup make appearances all over the Southland. Still, the Kings feel they owe their community a debt of gratitude.
To help repay that trust, the Kings turned to longtime partner McDonald’s, who will step up their association with the organization this season as the team’s first-ever presenting sponsor.
“We asked McDonald’s to help us do something extraordinary to let the people in this community know how much we appreciate their support,” said Kings Governor Tim Leiweke.
The end result has McDonald’s joining forces with the Kings to donate $1 million to four local charities: Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles; Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California; Boys and Girls Clubs of America; and City Year Los Angeles.
“We felt it appropriate,” Leiweke said, “that we went back to these four charities and utilized them to give $1 million back to the community, to give $1 million back to those in need and to give $1 million to kids to thank them for the support that we have received as an organization.”
Both the Kings and McDonald’s knew simply cutting a check would not be enough to adequately to express their gratitude. Instead, the longtime partners devised a program that would bring the team and the community it represents together in meaningful ways.
“We feel that it is important to not only make a significant commitment back to our community,” said Kings President/Business Operations Luc Robitaille, “but to help facilitate a sizeable charitable effort that everybody can get behind -- including our players, our fans and our partners in particular.”
Speaking on behalf of those partners, Rob Parker, CEO, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California, praised the Kings for their continued outreach to the community.
“Luc Robitaille and the Kings have been strong supporters of our children and families,” Parker said. “We are thrilled with their decision to invest in our partnership in such a significant way.”
As part of their commitment to the community, the Kings Care Foundation will spearhead fundraising initiatives in several categories, including special auctions and fan-friendly events.
Kings players, overwhelmed by the fan support that helped them achieve their Stanley Cup dreams last spring, insisted on being part of the initiative. Jarret Stoll, Matt Greene and Jonathan Quick recently appeared at a STAPLES Center news conference to launch the campaign and, along with their Kings teammates, will be very active in the program.
Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty will donate tickets as part of a special ticket program while captain Dustin Brown will donate money for each on-ice hit as part of a special Hit Tracker. Quick will donate $500 per win from his 326 Foundation.
A Kings Stanley Cup championship ring auction will be one of the program’s highlights and stands as a fitting symbol of the symbiotic relationship between team-and-community. One ring will be auctioned or raffled off for each of the four charities, enabling fans to support the cause of their choice. A fifth ring will auctioned through the Kings Care Foundation.
The Kings’ unique $1 million “Thank You” pledge will also provide additional support to key military charities and youth hockey organizations. FOX Sports West and Clear Channel will serve as special media partners.