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The early 90's were a weird time...
DOS gave way to Windows, AOL dial-up 'free minute' discs were an actual currency, the correct way to "blow then load" Super Nintendo games was debatable, the Berlin Wall had come down, and Gretzky was here in SoCal long enough to start really tearing down the traditional Dodgers/Lakers/Raiders/Rams/Bruins/Trojans sports wall (no Clippers though, they were a joke back then too).
An upper-level classmate in high school was an avid Kings fan and would invite people over for watch parties. This was a BIG deal! Dude had a 30" TV!!!! That's about a billion inches when you convert from Standard to HD. You could almost see the whole puck travel when they called a two-line pass. Oh, the days.
91-92 was a fun season to watch. I'd ride my bike home and tell my parents all about the games. I got a bunch of "that's nice dear" from my mom and my dad would roll his eyes because it wasn't baseball or golf. Whatever man. I was all in! We got smoked by the Oilers in the playoffs. Damnit!
Going into 92-93 I was firmly in the "hockey or nothing" frame of mind. The youth group I was in was 100% sold as well, so we started playing roller hockey. Some of us worked at the same after school program, so we got the kids on it as well (adults in skates, kids in sneakers). We were having fun and doing well, and the Kings were doing well enough to make the playoffs again.
My youth group went on tour in Colorado during the playoffs. We left about midway through the first round vs Flames and every night there would be about 10-15 of us hovering around the radio listening to the Kings romp through Canada. Flames, then Canucks, then Leafs. We got to listen to Game 1 vs. the Canadiens and feeling good we hopped a flight home two days later.
We landed and got home to the "stick" situation. OMG! WTF! Kings lost the SCF 4-1?! A pox on all the Canadian houses!!!
And then darkness fell. The ensuing years were not terribly fun to witness. Bruce McNall and his money probs, and with Gretzky gone, we iced some seriously bad teams. And even when we had some good teams later in the 2000's, the injury bug seemed destined to wipe us out in the early playoff rounds.
2011-12 may be the high water mark for Kings fans and I'm OK with that. The run was remarkable for a bunch of reasons, but there will always be a few that will carry over a lifetime for fans. No one will ever forget the Brown hit on H. Sedin, watching him paw at the bench door like a cat left out in the rain. No one will forget pinning the Blues in their own zone during a "do or die" situation to help the sweep along. No one will forget sending Doan and Smith packing. No one will forget SCF game 6, watching a usually "OK" power play unit explode during a 5 minute penalty vs. the Devils.
That feeling, being in the building, surrounded by all those other fans, knowing it is just fine to celebrate a Stanley Cup with 5 minutes left, after that long was/is surreal. Almost 5 years later, it really is hard to put into words. It's all the emotions of a birth/funeral/wedding combined, with a happy cry face emoji attached.
So here I am. 25+ years in, I've seen some highs and I've seen some lows. I've seen my team tumble hard from grace and watched them eventually climb to the top.
Mostly I've seen some crazy, free-wheeling hockey and some trap-it-till-its-dead hockey. They all have their merits. I can appreciate (and vehemently argue) the tweaks in the game.
But when it's all said and done, hockey is my "sport" love and I hope it is yours too or will be soon.
P.S. I miss FoxTrax. Bring back the neon puck that may or may not have decapitated someone.