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The Royal Half Preview: Kings vs. Wild

by The Royal Half / Los Angeles Kings
Disclaimer - The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Los Angeles Kings Hockey Club. All opinions expressed by The Royal Half are solely (and most likely) his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Los Angeles Kings or their Hockey Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His current whereabouts are not known to the Kings and he has no access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being a half-season ticket holder

Game #34

40 pts
5th in Western Conference
42 pts
4th in Western Conference
5:00pm, Xcel Energy Center
St. Paul, MN
A few days ago, a big-time NHL player switched teams and the repercussions of that move will greatly affect the Los Angeles Kings and their fans as the team competes for another Stanley Cup Championship.
Oh, I'm sorry. Were you expecting someone else?
So tonight... I'm declaring March 30th, 2013... Dewayne Hankins Legends Night.
Dewayne Hankins was hired as the LA Kings Director of Digital Media in November of 2010. He came to Los Angeles by way of the LA Kings opponent in tonight's game, the Minnesota Wild. From September 2005 until he was hired by the Kings, Dewayne did a similar job for the Wild and is best known for giving a face... to... um... a mustache.
During his time in Los Angeles, Dewayne, along with several other department heads at the LA Kings, have helped to completely re-shape the way us LA Kings fans get our news and information about our favorite hockey team. For instance, did you know that the LA Kings are one of the few teams in the NHL to upload their highlights onto a YouTube Channel so that the LA Kings can tweet it out immediately after the game is over? You know that cool Connect Four-esque graphic that the Kings post on Facebook and you print out and put in your cubicle? Or that cool Instagram-esque graphic that the Kings tweet out after every game that sometimes makes fun of Shane Doan? I guess what I'm trying to say is that before Dewayne arrived... pretty much anything related to the LA Kings on the Internet looked like this:
Honestly, I don't even see a difference.
Now you don't need me to tell you about the genius of the LA Kings Twitter Account... you've got Yahoo, Deadpsin and the New York Times to do that. And you can also listen to an in-depth Podcast with Dewayne here. No, I'm here to talk about what some consider the greatest legacy from the Dewayne Hankins LA Kings era...
Bringing TRH on board to
Earlier this season, Dewayne let me hang out in the Press Box with him and Pat Donahue, the Coordinator for the Digital Media department. And I got a really great sense of exactly how hard these guys work during the game. 
I know, right? I'm exhausted just looking at it.
So since Dewayne was totally crazy enough to ask me to start writing these LA Kings Gameday Previews... I thought I'd sit down with him and conduct a TRH Exit Interview™. Because probably the guy that takes over for Dewayne will fire me on the spot.
An artist's rendering of myself interviewing Dewayne.
TRH: When you came to LA from Minnesota, did you have a specific goal in mind that you wanted to achieve with the LA Kings and Social Media? Are you leaving having achieved it?
DH: What attracted me so much to this job was that Luc, Chris McGowan, Mike Altieri and Jonathan Lowe were looking for someone to help push them forward, to help them innovate in this space. At the time, I didn't know what that was going to look like, but I knew that it was my #1 priority. I also knew there would be an opening to do things differently, since they said they'd support me. No one, however, could have imagined the perfect storm of last season happening as it did. Had the team not won the Cup, you wouldn't be asking me any of these questions -- so there's that. On top of that, Pat sends the B.C. tweet, which put the Twitterverse on notice and we have this magical playoff run, which puts us in a spotlight we've never been close to. Did we achieve that innovation that they wanted? Absolutely. And thankfully, the rest of the world noticed that we were innovating because of how the team performed. My favorite saying is "Luck is the residue of design" by Branch Rickey. In this case, design was the residue of luck, but you get the point. 
TRH: Besides the "B.C., You're Welcome" tweet... do you have any favorite tweets of yours from the past year or so? 

DH: There are really so, so many. I have been so lucky to work with someone who has a similar sense of humor to me in Pat Donahue. So many times the things he has said have brought me to tears. One of my favorites that I crafted, I guess, would be the election day tweet -- reminding fans that their decision would affect who would congratulate us in the White House. 

DH: That kind of thing happened a lot, where we'd jump on the day's topic. We were lucky that when we had a good idea for a topical tweet, if we both thought it passed the test, we'd just send it and ask forgiveness later if that was necessary. We have been really lucky to have bosses that understand this space.

TRH: Ok, Stanley Cup win aside... what was the greatest moment of your time with the LA Kings?

DH: There are so many great memories associated with the Cup, that I can't just gloss over it: cheering in the press box when we won (even though we weren't supposed to), being on the ice afterward and celebrating with all these people who had been through 80-hour weeks for two straight months, being able to hoist the Cup (it's heavier than you think), drinking out if and being a part of the Stanley Cup Parade. Most of all, as much as I enjoyed it -- and I made sure to stop and do that -- when you watched people like Jim Fox, Luc Robitaille, Tim Leiweke and Bob Miller celebrate, you saw that it had a completely different meaning for them. These guys helped make the Kings what they are today and seeing the emotion on their faces was incredible.

DH: Aside from all that... so many of my memories are based on that playoff run from last year. I remember the exact moment I thought we were going to win the Stanley Cup for the first time. It was in the final minutes of Game Four vs. St. Louis when their net was empty and they couldn't even get the puck in their own zone. The crowd was as loud as I had ever heard and something about that moment felt so transformative. We just had this swagger, and I don't just mean the players, the staff, the fans -- we all just knew that this could actually happen.

TRH: What are you going to miss the most about the job and Los Angeles?

DH: The most? That is an extremely difficult question. Personally, I'll miss all the great friends I made here. It was less than three years here, but the friendships I made have been lifelong, just some great, great people. From a professional standpoint, I'll miss what's been built and established here. I'm not foolish enough to think that we can just photocopy the success of the Kings and make the same formula work in Portland. It's a different sport and a different market. That said, I'm excited about the opportunity to come up with what will work in Portland. And I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open and learning as much as I can about the market to see what engages fans.

Have fun with those Portland sports fans, Dewayne.

TRH: What have you specifically learned from LA Kings fans that you are going to carry on to Portland Trailblazers fans?

DH: Not to be afraid to take risks. I think this job has given me very thick skin because everyone has a real-time opinion about social media ON social media. Now that will be magnified even further since I'll be leading an entire marketing department in a region where that team is front and center in that market. If I have more successes than failures, then I'll get to keep my job but one thing I won't do is play it safe because every fan everywhere has seen that playbook before. If social media has taught us anything, it's that we should be authentic and transparent. Also, if you have diehard fans who willingly create great content that creates relevance (good or bad) for your team, then you should do everything you can to take care of them. They are your biggest ambassadors.

You hear that, Mom? I'm an ambassador!

TRH: Finally... a lot of people don't know that before the Minnesota Wild and the LA Kings, you worked for the Florida Marlins for a little over a year. So.... F-Marry-Kill: Hockey, Basketball, Baseball

DH: Kill Baseball. I still love the sport, but it's a grueling job and lifestyle when you have a family and you're working 162 games per year. I'm married to basketball, because that's paying the bills now, but don't think I won't pull a few one-night stands with hockey from time to time, since we're just getting out of a memory-filled eight-year relationship.

The ultimate hockey one-night stand.

Best of luck to Dewayne and his family... and by the looks of it... fans of something called the "N-B-A" and the "Portland Trail Blazers" are already excited to have him on board.

I have no idea what any of this means...
but I can already tell they need Dewayne's help bad.

For those of you that have come to rely and be creepily obsessed with the LA Kings Twitter Account... Dewayne doesn't want you to worry.

I can personally vouch for Pat Donahue, the guy that will be taking over the LA Kings Twitter Account full-time. You can be sure that the account will stay just as sarcastic and classless as it was under Dewayne's watch.

God Help Us All.

So raise your sticks high and wish the best of luck to Dewayne Hankins... for when he retires someday... you'll see his name hanging in the Staples Center rafters with some of the all-time LA Kings legends.


Via Dustin Penner and Trevor Lewis... photos of the excuse fans can use when the entire
LA Kings team looks a bit sluggish in the 3rd Period against Minnesota...

It's so awesome that Dustin Penner has access to photos of
Dustin Brown from his 13th Birthday party.

Too. Many. Jokes.
The Royal Half has been a Los Angeles Kings fan since 1988 and a Half-Season Ticket Holder since 2002. He has seen the following goaltenders play in person for the Los Angeles Kings… Kelly Hrudey, Grant Fuhr, Byron Dafoe, Jamie Storr, Stephane Fiset, Felix Potvin, Cristobal Huet, Roman Cechmanek, Mathieu Garon, Adam Hauser, Jason LaBarbera, Barry Brust, Sean Burke, Dan Cloutier, Yutaka Fukufuji, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Bernier and Jonathan Quick. If you like the hockey equivalent of dirty jokes or enjoy humorous screen-grabs of NHL players and broadcasters with funny captions... man, you are going to like The Royal Half. You can follow The Royal Half on Twitter at @TheRoyalHal

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