Just as Jamie Storr was finishing the last bite of his hot dog, he was interrupted by Rick Garcia, the Kings assistant equipment manager. Garcia, winded from racing up into the stands at the Forum, explained to the young goaltender that he would need to get dressed. Storr was confused. "Get dressed for what?" he responded.
Garcia explained that goaltender Rob Stauber had just broken one of his fingers blocking a shot and he had to leave the game, which meant Storr would need to serve as Kelly Hrudey's backup.
Storr licked his fingers and excitedly ran down the stairs to get suited up. After putting on all his equipment, Storr watched the second period from the bench. Sitting alongside Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, and Rob Blake, reality set in.
Although Storr had lived with Gretzky for a month following training in 1994, this was different. He was now in an NHL game. "My parents saw me on TV on Hockey Night in Canada and that was the best thing ever," Storr reminisced.
During the course of the second period, Hrudey went down with some discomfort but played through to intermission. When Storr and the Kings adjourned to the locker room he noticed that Hrudey had all of his equipment off and was getting worked on by the trainer. Seeing what was going on, Gretzky approached Storr and told him it looks like he would have to play the third.
Just before the third period began, Storr was getting warmed up when Gretzky came over to see him again. "Gretz came over and tapped me on the pads and said 'this is just like junior hockey, nothing different. Just go out there and have fun,'" Storr said.
The 19-year-old netminder, however, wouldn't be making his NHL debut that night. Hrudey hobbled out of the tunnel and finished the game with a badly bruised right knee cap.
"It was one of the greatest things I ever saw," Storr remembered. "A goalie like Hrudey finishing the game hurt because he wanted to help the team but he also said he didn't want to put me in that situation by having my first game be one where have you to come in from the stands."
Storr would get his opportunity two nights later, starting at home against the Stars. "I remember just stepping in and it was no different than junior hockey," Storr said. "You just go in there and try to make saves." Storr made 35 saves in a 4-2 loss to Dallas. He started the next three straight games, picking up his first career victory against the Jets on January 28, 1995, before Hrudey made his return to the crease.
Not long after another start in February, Storr was sent back to junior after the Kings acquired Grant Fuhr to shore up their goaltending for the rest of the campaign. He returned to Los Angeles the following year but spent most of his time with the club's International Hockey League affiliate until he became a fulltime NHL regular in 1998-99.
By that point, Storr was no longer in the stands, but he was still sneaking hot dogs.
"Stephane Fiset and I, we used to eat hot dogs in between periods when we weren't playing because you'd get so hungry," he explained. "One time I ate one in the bathroom stall like I was hiding with all my equipment on. But Larry Robinson was so tall he could see over the stalls and he looked down at me and asked, 'why are you eating it in there? Why wouldn't you go eat it in the trainer's room?'"
It's unclear if Storr took his coach's advice, but if Hall of Famer Larry Robinson didn't have a problem with it, that was probably the last time the goaltender needed to eat his snack behind closed doors on an off night.
Storr backstopped the Kings for five full seasons before finishing his NHL career with the Hurricanes. Following a couple seasons in the American Hockey League, Storr played overseas for the German DEG Metro Stars of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga before hanging up his goalie pads in 2009.
After retiring from hockey, Storr had to reinvent himself. "You have to try to find yourself again. What's your purpose?" he said.
Storr kept himself busy by establishing an eponymous goalie school and getting into real estate. As his children got older, he became more involved in their sports, particularly with his son, Tyson, who was into hockey.
"I started going to the rink every day and getting involved in minor hockey and looking into development," Storr added. "You start getting involved at age six or seven and then all of a sudden they're 13 or 14."
While Storr watched some of his former teammates take up coaching and management opportunities in the NHL, he wanted to stay involved in hockey but wasn't prepared to give up spending time with his children. Instead, Storr began searching for opportunities to use hockey as a way to keep his family together before his kids went off to school. One of the things that Storr eventually contemplated was getting into development and even ownership.
"So, I started looking at things that we could actually get involved with and I called some different leagues," he stated. "I started looking at the value of the teams and putting in calls and meeting with the owners of some teams."
After doing some research, Storr began eyeing a return to where he grew up in Canada. "We hadn't been back home in 25 years. The kids didn't really get to know their grandparents," the Brampton, Ontario native said. "Everything kind of started to lead towards that."
In Oakville, less than a half hour from his hometown, Storr met with the owners of the Oakville Blades, a Junior A team in the Ontario Junior Hockey League. Following their conversations, Storr, along with Wayne Purboo and Andre Christensen, purchased the Blades in May 2019, as the team finished their best season in franchise history.
Along with his ownership of the team, Storr took on the responsibility of president and head coach.
While Storr still maintains his home in Los Angeles, he spends time in Oakville during the hockey season so that he can be hands-on with the club.
"When I first came back, we started developing a program and figuring out how many times we wanted to be on the ice and what we wanted from a skill development side, from the hockey side, workout and conditioning, and schooling for the kids," he said. "We had to figure out how to get everyone to where we can make them feel like this is a first class program."
There's been no shortage of work to do. In addition to establishing the club's development program, Storr is doing everything from advertising to sponsorships and attracting more fans.
"We pretty much have to do everything," Storr said. "It's been a fun project. It gives us purpose."
All of that hard work has paid off. The Blades are currently 29-6-2-2 and sit atop their division. The results speak for themselves, but Storr really prides himself on the program that he and the club have developed.
"The kids get to have a major junior experience for the amount of ice time and training and games they're playing and it's at the junior level, so it's really unique," he stated.
While Storr relishes his new role and is pleased with the team's performance on the ice, it has been about more than just hockey. For him, it's been an opportunity to keep his family under one roof and give back the community in which he grew up.
"It's allowed me to prolong my opportunity to spend time with my own kids and watch them group," Storr said. "I can give back to all the kids in this area who are playing for us and help give them the opportunity to be better players this year and prepare to be a better player at a higher level next year."
Twenty-five years after Gretzky told him just to have fun out there, Storr is still doing exactly just that.