Los Angeles Kings’ Hockey Fest, which began in 2009 as an “annual festival celebrating the game of hockey” has become a popular event among Kings’ fans. This year’s event took place on Sept. 14, 2014. It was not only a great opportunity to hang out with fellow Kings fans, but a chance to meet some of the players, and it also serves as a reminder that the upcoming season is not too far away. Held at Staples Center for the past three seasons, this year, it moved back to Toyota Sports Center, the Kings practice facility in El Segundo.
Doors opened at 7 a.m. and fans were lined up to have their photo taken with the Stanley Cup. Out early also were LAFD firehouse cook teams who were on scene to feed the hungry crowd. Fire Station 88, with Mike Finger, RJ Kilpatrick, Ty Baker and Kevin Ellidge, repeated their award-winning pulled pork and mac & cheese. 23’s, with Bill Bringas at the helm and assisted by Dave Moorman (59’s), Carlos Mejia (87’s), Art Perez and Don Welcker (23’s), and friend Eric Robidoux whipped up breakfast burritos. Pancakes and sausage were prepared by the team from FS 10 under Jeff Cawdrey and Tyler Tomich, with help from Dave Kohl, Geoff Lite, Steve Cowels, and Jeff’s son, Kyle. Part-time fire captain and chef extraordinaire Mark Curry, with help from Greg Pascolla (80’s), Craig Nielson (92’s), Jeff Haas (97’s), and brother Dan (93’s) barbecued baby back pork ribs with coleslaw.
LAFRA vice president Bob Steinbacher took the podium and the mic to present Kings’ general manager Dean Lombardi with a special engraved axe (donated by Fire Axe, Inc.). Bob thanked Dean and the Kings for the generous and continued support of the Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen’s Fund.
Following Hockey Fest, the LA Kings Alumni Team took on the Russian Stars team. Players from the Kings team included: Luc Robitaille, Nelson Emerson, Craig Johnson, Mike Donnelly, Jim Fox, Daryl Evans, Ron Duguay, Charlie Simmer, Rob Blake, Sean O’Donnell, Jaroslav Modry, Mike O’Connell and Jamie Storr, with Honorary Coaches Rogie Vachon and Glen Murray. Players from the Russian Stars team included: Alexey Yashin, Slava Fetisov, Alexei Kasatonov, Val Bure, Pavel Bure, Darius Kasparitis, Vladie Malakhov, Alex Kovalev, Andrei Kovalenko, and Tony Esposito. LAFRA’s Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen’s Fund has been slated to receive the gate from this game.
Photos by Juan Carlos Sanchez, LAFRA staff