The Los Angeles Kings and their fans celebrated their Stanley Cup championship with a parade and rally Monday in downtown Los Angeles.
The parade down Figueroa Street is a simple affair: a few double decker buses and big flatbed trucks carrying the triumphant Kings, their families and local dignitaries.
The crowd was large and loud, but not too rowdy…almost as if having witnessed a similar parade 2 years ago gave it some experience. Still, seeing the 3-foot tall silver Stanley Cup trophy hoisted overhead on the back of a big truck was magic.
“I’ve been a King fan for 38 years,” said Manny Maldonado of Lancaster. He’d risen 4:30 a.m. to drive his family to a Metrolink station for the trip.
Maldonado was at the Forum in 1982 when the Kings pulled off what’s called the “miracle on Manchester”, winning a playoff game against the Wayne Gretzsky-led Edmonton Oilers after being down 5-0 zero in the third period.
“My friend who’s a school teacher wanted to leave. My brother says ‘No, we’re staying here because they’re gonna come back,” Maldonado recalled. He acknowledged that many fans have come and gone since then.
“You got your loyal fans and you got your bandwagon fans, but that’s ok,” Maldonado said. “We’ll take that. We will take that.”
Karen Shanbrom of Eagle Rock said she’s not a bandwagon fan… just a new one. She was somewhat indifferent to hockey until a friend took her to a Kings match last season.
“ You can almost still see the teeth marks. I got bit by the Kings bug. “ Shanbrom said.
She went to more matches, including the playoffs, bought “millions” of Kings t-shirts and decorated her car. This year, she said, the playoffs were like an addiction:
“I got so excited I couldn’t breathe. Before the games were starting, I could think of nothing,” Shanbrom said, donning a Jonathan Quick t-shirt. “My work suffered. My life suffered. Everything… I kept thinking, ‘I can’t wait until we win the Cup so I can get my life back.”
The Kings and the National Hockey League will be happy to know that Shanbrom’s already put down a deposit for a 10-pack of Kings games next season and hopes to be able to afford to increase that to a half-season package.
This story has been updated.