[Ed. note: Please don't miss this fan's story.]
I wanted to share what I hope to be a touching and memorable story of the one of the Los Angeles Kings most dedicated fans, my dad, Christ K.
I grew up with the sounds of Bob Miller announcing Kings games as my dad watched each and every game religiously. Having grown up in NYC around hockey, when my dad moved to San Diego in 1969 the Kings became his team of choice. Ever since then he has been one of their most diehard fans. If he was not around for a game he would tape each game and we were strictly told not to tell him any details if we already had watched the game. The sounds of him screaming "Scores!" from his den where he watched all the games resonated throughout my childhood. As was his screams at the referees for what he always referred to as "bias against the Kings."
I was not a Kings fan myself until Wayne Gretzky game to LA in 1988 and that is when I jumped on the bandwagon and starting watching the games each week with my dad. The Los Angeles Kings were a huge part of my childhood and it seemed that growing up life revolved around the Kings. I remember vividly the last Cup run for the Kings in 1993 and the infamous Marty McSorley penalty. (Our dog, was actually named Marty after Mr. McSorely himself). That loss still hurts.
This past October 2011, when my dad found out his kidney cancer had reached terminal stages, his first comment to my brother was "I guess that means I won’t live to see the Kings win the Stanley Cup." My brother jokingly responded, "Dad, I won’t live to see the Kings win the Stanley Cup." My dad passed away at home on April 2, 2012 just 10 days before the Kings began their playoff run. We appropriately buried him in his favorite Kings shirt and put "The Great One, We Love You" on his headstone (this jokester and larger than life man referred to himself as The Great One for as long as I can remember).
As the Kings now sit 2-0 and hopefully on their way to the winning the cup, I can’t help but feel a mix of emotions. This playoff run has allowed me to continue to feel close to my dad, even after his passing. I also cannot help but feel that the Kings success is also honoring his life and his dedication to the Kings. It also brings me such sadness that if he would have just lived one more month to see this…
I don’t believe that it is the Kings "destiny" to win the cup this year. They are in the position that they are in because of tremendous hard work, great coaching, and dedication to the game of hockey. I also don’t believe that my dad is up in heaven negotiating with god for the Kings to win the cup. That too, would take away from the players and coaches hard work. I guess what I believe and what I would love the Kings players, Kings organization, and fellow fans to know is that the 2012 run for the Stanley Cup has truly taken on a special meaning for myself and my family. We are not only ecstatic as fans to watch the Kings navigate their way through the playoffs with great intensity and wonderful hockey. It has also been a great nod to my dad’s life and passion, and way for us to still be close to him each week. Thank you to the Los Angeles Kings. I know you work your entire lives for this moment. But, please know these playoffs mean just as much to one family in San Diego, CA who recently lost their Great One.