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Fan Fair

Young Kings 'superfan' enjoys NHL FanFair

7-year-old Avery Stewart meets mascots, plays games

by Abbey Mastracco / Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- If you've ever been to a Los Angeles Kings game, there's a good chance you know Avery Stewart.

You've seen the little 7-year-old blonde with purple glasses, from nearby Torrance, California, on the big screen at Staples Center, proclaiming her fandom for Kings captain Anze Kopitar. You may have even seen her at Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, hanging out after her hockey practice waiting to say "Hi" to her favorite players.

Avery has endeared herself to Kings fans and many of the players. Just ask forward Kyle Clifford, who declared her the "biggest Kings superfan" and the "cutest" during a Q&A session at Dunkin' Donuts Theater at NHL FanFair on Friday.

Avery has seen it all in her three days at the NHL FanFair and Centennial Fan Arena. The best part? The mascot musical chair and dance competition.

"My favorite part was seeing almost off the mascots. I like Sharkie," she said excitedly. "And I've done all of the games."

Avery was referring to the interactive hockey-themed exhibits at FanFair. The Los Angeles Convention Center transformed its West Hall into 250,000 square feet of hockey history and fun, with the interactive slap shot challenge (Avery's favorite), target practice, hardest shot and accuracy challenge. There are historical exhibits, including a mobile Hall of Fame.

From Wayne Gretzky's sweaters and sticks, to sweaters worn by the "Triple Crown Line" of Dave Taylor, Marcel Dionne and Charlie Simmer, and sweaters and score sheets from lesser-known Southern California teams like the Long Beach Ice Dogs and San Diego Gulls, Southern California's hockey history was on full display.

Avery dragged her parents to nearly everything, but they especially enjoyed the NHL Museum Truck, a 53-foot vehicle with interactive displays, videos and memorabilia.

"Her thing right now is that she wants to do everything all at once," Avery's mother, Bonnie, said. "We loved all of the interactive stuff at the (Museum Truck). Especially how we were able to put your name on the locker and the gear, and pull up the names on the Cup."

Avery's dad, Chris, said he most enjoyed the goalie exhibit at the Museum Truck. Bonnie's favorite part of the event was seeing Avery interact with other fans. She shushed those who were booing rivals and showed off a picture of her and Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler.

She said she came specifically to see some players from other teams, including San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns and Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin.

"I most want to see Drew [Doughty], Burnsie, Alex and [Jeff] Carter," she said. "I hope I see them at the Skills Competition."

It's all friendly rivalries inside FanFair and the Fan Arena.

"She knows how to be a good fan at 7 years old," Bonnie said. "And that's what we're trying to teach her here."

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