Since the Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup championship in 2012, hockey has once again been on the rise in Southern California.
With that rise in popularity, the LA Kings Fan Development Department saw an opportunity in 2013 to grow the game of hockey even more, introducing the Lil’ Kings learn to play hockey program.
The program was started in six rinks with 180 kids participating and, in just one year, has grown to 14 Southern California rinks with over 500 kids participating.
“It’s great for the kids, they have a blast out here,” says Ice Station Coach Larry LeVasseur. “They learn a lot, keep out here playing hockey and we love it.”
Along with the program’s growth, its sponsorship has also grown as Los Angeles Kings Captain Dustin Brown, along with CCM and Hockey Monkey, all have pitched in to help. Each participant is provided with equipment from CCM and is fitted at the Hockey Monkey retail store in Corona, California before heading out for the first of six practice sessions at his or her local rink.
In the case of the Ice Station, the Junior A Valencia Flyers also pitch in to help, providing players to come out and help teach the kids.
“It’s a lot of fun helping out these kids learn the game that I love,” says Luc Whyte, center for the Valencia Flyers.
“They are all learning how to skate and it’s pretty fun,” says Flyers Captian Austin Ehrlich.
The kids do have fun, so much in fact that they cannot wait to get back to the rink each Saturday morning.
“He is so excited,” said Xiomara Murtishaw about her son. “He gets up every Saturday and wakes his daddy up and asks if he can go to hockey.”
That is what the LA Kings’ plan was from the start, to get kids excited for hockey and make hockey fans for life.