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THE ABC's OF TIP-A-KING

by Melody Huskey / Los Angeles Kings
LAKings.com intern Melody went to Tip-A-King 2009 at L.A. Live on Sunday, Feb. 22 and talked to Kings fans, players and head coach Terry Murray to bring Kings fans the ABC's of Tip-A-King, which raised close to $250,000 for Kings Care.


Photo Gallery

ANZE KOPITAR
Anze Kopitar won the unofficial contest for the player who most fans were excited to see. The young man who dunked Derek Armstrong twice (see “D” below) declared Kopitar to be his favorite, while another man thought “Kopitar will be the face of the Kings for years and years and years.”

"BURGER KING" JERSEY
For those of you who don’t remember the “Burger King” jersey, it was the Kings third jersey worn in the 1995-96 season and featured a rather serious King face on the front. While this gem is not easily found, Kings fan Jesse was wearing one with Laperriere No. 22 on the back, which he bought in a hockey store in Redlands 10 years ago. I made sure to tell him if he found another one to let me know!

CUTE-CUTE ONES
One group of young ladies had an interesting strategy for getting autographs.

“We are going to talk to the cute-cute ones first. Like Jarret Stoll. He is cute-cute!”

A man overheard their comments and told me that Denis Gauthier is a "real swooner” in his seating section at STAPLES Center, so he should definitely be on the list.

DUNKING ARMY
Derek Armstrong was brave enough to sit in the dunk tank for over three hours as Kings fans took their chance at dunking the Kings forward. One boy around nine years old named Noah managed to throw his baseball at the target twice in the first 10 minutes of play, ensuring a long afternoon for Armstrong.

ERSBERG’S AUTOGRAPHS
Erik Ersberg was happy that he had not been asked to sign anything too unusual during Tip-A-King.

“No weird body parts, but a lot of different kinds of things. Kings fans have good imaginations, but I am happy they weren’t getting too weird.”

FOR AUCTION
Among the items up for auction at this year’s Tip-A-King were team-signed jerseys from the Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets, as well as a suite for a Kings game that had five bids by 2:30 p.m. Additionally there were gift packages of each of the Kings players’ favorite things. A surprising amount of candy was in those boxes!

GREENE MAKING SOME GREEN FOR KINGS CARE
I caught up with Kings defenseman Matt Greene taking a break outside.

“Everyone that comes up to the table sounds really excited about what is happening in the season so far. It is good that they care enough to be here and are excited to pay me $1 for an autograph. I think it is just great.”

HERE FOR THE FANS

Every player I caught up with had the same refrain, that they were so excited to see the fans out to support them and that it meant a lot to them to see so many people out at Tip-A-King and at the games.

Kyle Calder: “It is great to see all the fans, you can’t say enough about them. They are who we play for so it is wonderful to meet them in person.”

Alexander Frolov: “It is really important to get together with the fans because this game is all about them. It is great that they have a chance to meet the players.”

Wayne Simmonds: “It is great when the fans come out to support us even though we haven’t been playing very well at home. I even had a couple people bring things for me to sign and told me that I was the only player signing that item, which is just an amazing feeling.”

IS THIS YOUR FIRST JOB MAKING TIPS?
I asked the players that question and Kings defenseman Kyle Quincey answered with a negative.

“I was a dishwasher in high school, so I made some tips before this.”

Patrick O’Sullivan laughed when he heard about that, and said he would beat Quincey at washing dishes any day.

Calder had never made tips in another job, but he said that he gives an important tip to others, “don’t eat yellow snow.”

JERSEY CUSTOMIZATION

When I saw a Kings jersey with “HMCSFMSUSN” on the back and the No. 38 but with a backwards three, I just had to ask Robert Flannigan for the back story.

“I was in the Navy for 26.5 years and I retired in June of 2004. I have been a Kings fan since 1967 so when I moved back to Los Angeles I became a season ticket holder. As part of our ticket package we got a coupon for a free jersey customization, so I decided that I would put my military rank, which is the HMCS. Fleet Marine Corps., the FMS, was my worker specialty because I worked with the Marine Corps, and USN is pretty self-explanatory because it was the United States Navy. I had them turn the three so it looked like E8, which was my pay grade. I made this jersey a melding of my two passions.”

KING OF HIGH STRIKER SWING
Out of the corner of my eye I saw LAKings.com host Heidi Androl taking on Kings forward Raitis Ivanans at the High Striker Swing game. While Heidi posted an impressive 1000 points, Ivanans quickly outdid her, ringing the bell at 1800 easily. Later on I could hear him bragging that he could take on anyone with one hand, and I believed it.

LONG COMMUTE
In line to talk to Drew Doughty was Tom, who came from quite a distance for Tip-A-King. “I see the games I can when I am out here, but I live in Philadelphia. I came for two weeks, saw six games and got some autographs. When I go home I get to see the Kings hopefully take one from Philadelphia.”

MAKE YOUR OWN KINGS SHOES!
Walking around the carnival floor, I saw Kings fan David holding the coolest pair of sneakers that I have ever seen, in Kings colors with the crown logo. When I asked him where to get them he said that he made them online to honor the Kings, his favorite hockey team since 1974.

NEW YORK TO LOS ANGELES
In line to talk to O’Sullivan I met Pippa, a Kings season ticket holder and fan for over 10 years. She came from New York a Rangers fan, but the Kings drew her in and she said there is no turning back.

O’SULLIVAN FEELS LOVE IN THE AIR
“It is great here today,” said Patrick O’Sullivan when I asked him how it felt to meet all the fans. “For the first time in four or five years here, people are happy. I think it is important for fans here to have some excitement at this point in the season. Obviously this is all for a very good cause and they made it fun, so this is a good day. I can feel it; it is a very good day.”

PREISSING THANKFUL

Tom Preissing was thankful for the fans, the way the season is going and the kind of tips he was getting.

“It is great to meet fans any time, but this year is more fun than last year because we are still in the playoff race. We have shown the fans that we are better this year and it is great to meet them knowing that. Everyone has stayed away from giving me tips on my play, but I say if they give me dollar they can impart all of the advice that they want.”

QUICK’S TIPS
Kings rookie goaltender Jonathan Quick discovered that he was getting more than dollars.

“Two of the most frequent tips that I have been getting are ‘stop the puck’ and ‘win the Cup.’ I think I will take that advice.”

STOLL APPRECIATES A BUCK WELL SPENT
Jarret Stoll was happy to meet everyone and hoped that all the Kings fans were having a good time as well.

“Everyone is excited about the season so far, and they don’t get the chance to see us outside of the rink. This is a great fundraiser for a good cause. I know that everyone here is spending a lot of money but hopefully people feel that it is worth it to spend a buck or two and get autographs and photos with us.”

TIPS FOR KINGS FANS FROM RICHARDSON
Kings center Brad Richardson had a few tips for Kings fans, after a long afternoon of taking in tips himself.

“Cheer really loudly and yell my name a lot because I play better when I hear it.”

UNDER THE TENT WITH COACH MURRAY

Kings Head Coach Terry Murray had his own line to deal with, but I managed to sneak in and ask him a few questions during a lull.

“The fans are your team. It is the reason why we do what we do. We want to win and our ultimate goal is to win a Stanley Cup as players and coaches, but we want to have good fans. This whole area to me is a great hockey area, because fans are here today, they come to the game and the cheer hard for us and they sell the building out. It is wonderful to meet people who love hockey, who know hockey and who want to talk hockey because they know everything about the players. It is very exciting for me to come to a new area and be welcomed and appreciated by so many people.”

VALENTINES PRESENT
One woman identified herself as her husband’s “sugar mama” because she brought him to Tip-A-King from Las Vegas as a Valentine’s present. Who was he there to see? Anze Kopitar.

WHO IS THE NEW GUY?
Quincey had a good laugh this afternoon when several people had asked “Who is the new guy?” when they saw him behind the table.

X-CITED TO SEE EVERYONE

So I know this is cheating, but I don’t have an X. While Anze Kopitar topped most fans’ lists for who they were most excited to see, I did meet a couple of fans who had other ideas of who they wanted to see while at Tip-A-King. One man in the VIP area was certain of his choice, telling me, “I am here to see Luc; I always come to Kings functions to see Luc. Jim Fox also, but mostly Luc Robitaille.”

On the other side of the VIP area, there were two women who were making a more democratic choice for their first autograph. “We want to talk to a King, any King. We are hockey people!” The young girl sitting with them vehemently disagreed that just any King would do, declaring that she was there to see Alexander Frolov and no other King would come first.

YEARS AND YEARS
I asked all of the Kings fans that I could when they started watching the Kings, and I got an array of answers, from 1967 all the way up through last year, with most fans becoming fans around the Gretzky era.

ZEILER WINS AT AIR HOCKEY
Just before I called it a day, I watched John Zeiler win handily over a little girl at air hockey. A fan standing in line jokingly yelled “Hey, leave it on the ice!”
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