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Kings raise Stanley Cup banner prior to opener

by Dan Rosen /

LOS ANGELES -- The banner is up. The diamond-studded Tiffany & Co. rings have been handed out. The Los Angeles Kings are moving on to Phase 2:

Defending the crown.

The Kings turned the page on the greatest chapter in franchise history Saturday with a stirring Stanley Cup championship banner-raising ceremony at Staples Center prior to their season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Bob Miller, the Kings' longtime television announcer, served as master of ceremonies with the Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe Trophy and Clarence Campbell Bowl in attendance.

Prior to raising the banner, the Kings received their rings, being introduced one-by-one by Miller, and the Stanley Cup made an appearance.

Cup keepers Phil Pritchard and Mike Bolt from the Hockey Hall of Fame carried the trophy through the stands in the lower bowl and brought it onto the ice, where Kings captain Dustin Brown was waiting for it.

Brown grabbed the Cup, held it high over his head, and started a procession around the ice with each player from last year's team getting a chance to grab it, raise it and pass it on.

The procession ended with Anze Kopitar, who placed the Cup on a black-clothed table next to the other two trophies.

Brown, Kopitar and Matt Greene then accepted the banner from the Greene family of Newtown, Conn.

Ana Marquez Greene, the daughter of Jimmy and Nelba-Marquez Greene, was a victim in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Her brother, Isaiah-Marquez Greene, who joined his parents on the ice, is an 8-year-old hockey player in his community.

Former Kings greats Marcel Dionne and Rogie Vachon joined the Greene family on the ice.

Brown, Kopitar and Matt Greene carried the banner across the ice, to the left circle closer to the Kings bench, where the rest of the team joined them to send the banner to the rafters.

As soon as it stopped rising, Miller went back to the microphone and offered this message:

"Kings fans, let's get this season started!" he screamed. "And let's do it again!"

Fifteen minutes before NBC went live from L.A. for the ceremony, the sold out Staples Center crowd was treated to a captivating video tribute of the Kings' run to the Stanley Cup, the first in franchise history.

They were the first No. 8 seed to win the Cup and the first team to take a 3-0 lead in every round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Fans held their glow sticks high in the air as they fixed their eyes on the giant scoreboard above center ice, cheering wildly at various times during the video, which encapsulated all four rounds in a matter of 15 minutes.

In typical L.A. fashion, the video included clips from Hollywood celebrities Will Ferrell, Matthew Perry, Hugh Hefner, Andie MacDowell, Cuba Gooding, Jr., David Beckham and former L.A. Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda.

As soon as the video ended, Miller stood at a glass podium and asked the fans to participate in a moment of silence for David Courtney, the longtime public address announcer for the Kings who passed away in November at the age of 56.

When that was over, Miller took the mic in hand and had to tell the fans they had to wait because NBC wasn't ready to go live yet. They booed.

But when NBC did go live across the United States, Miller could barely be heard over the roaring of the fans.

They showed the same opening video from the playoffs last year, with laser lights flashing across the arena and "The Black Parade" from My Chemical Romance blaring as pictures of the players as children and as Kings were shown on the screen.

Miller introduced the management staff, all standing on the ice, and the coaching staff on the bench before introducing every player who won a ring. They received the jewelry from Nancy Anschutz, the wife of Kings owner Phillip F. Anschutz.

The Kings' rings are the first provided by Tiffany & Co. to a Stanley Cup championship team. It includes 104 round brilliant pave diamonds, the Kings logo on top of the Stanley Cup, the Kings crown and the player's name in raised letters on one side, with the Kings name, the NHL logo and the year 2012 on the other side.


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