November 15th, 2013, 04:54 PM #1
OK, so I've been a member for a little while, all along debating whether I should post one of these threads. Not sure if my story was good enough or unique enough. Was it going to be boring? Well, I finally figured WTH...why not?
It started for me back in 1997...November, I think it was. I was working for a retail company - one of the Kings' major sponsors at the time. Had no interest in hockey - not any sports really, except maybe MLB. Knew little of it - heard of the Gretzkys, the Orrs...knew the Stanley Cup was the big show, etc...but that was about it. They held an event for two Kings players signing autographs in their store in Torrance or Manhattan Beach, and I was tasked to work it. Jozef Stumpel and Sean O'Donnell were the two players. Just watching these two interact with the fans was exceptionally cool. Stumpel was personable and nice, and later in the event when it slowed a little bit, a family ostensibly from Czechoslovakia came by. While it seemed like they may have known who Stumpel was, it didn't seem like he knew them prior to the event. But he got down off the little riser he and O'Donnell were on, and went over and talked to them...for what must have been 15 minutes to half an hour. By the end, it seemed like they all knew each other for ages. He gave them all hugs and handshakes, and went back to signing autographs as they went about their shopping.
O'Donnell was also a very personable guy. He showed up wearing a nice big shiner, and a few stitches over his left eye. Yet, the whole time he was smiling and being a genuinely nice guy. I started to think I should check this hockey thing out some more. In the meantime, I went and bought a cheap Kings t-shirt conveniently for sale nearby, which I then had them both sign. I later was able to give that shirt to a co-worker whose son-in-law was a sports autograph dealer/collector. He took it to some practices and/or games, and was able to get the entire team to sign it (I'll often wear that shirt under my jersey when I am fortunate enough to be able to go to games). In what was perhaps the sealing of the deal, I was one of a few people who escorted O'Donnell as he left - out a side door of the building through a breakroom. He walked out, put on a nice, shiny skid lid and rode off on a Harley - alone. No entourage, no hangers-on - just him. I figured that if this is what the NHL was about, it was for me.
And so it was born...a Kings fan for around 16 or so years now. Through ups and downs...and downs. And, I am not ashamed to admit it in the least, I screamed to the point of losing my voice and I did shed some tears of joy on that night in June, 2012.
I also have to say that I am very glad O'donnell's back with the Kings organization, and the role they have him in is, I think, perfect. After all, he was responsible for developing at least one fan in just one meeting 16 years ago.
November 15th, 2013, 05:05 PM #2
Welcome! You shared a great story.
To me, I love hearing everyone's story of how they became or are a Kigns fan. Everyone has something to add to the community here.
November 15th, 2013, 07:50 PM #3
Welcome, that was a fun story to read!
November 15th, 2013, 08:23 PM #4
Welcome! Great story!! Come hang out with us in the vBookie thread. We are harmless, I promise.
November 15th, 2013, 09:50 PM #5
Fantastic story and a warm welcome to ya! This is the place to be!
November 15th, 2013, 10:23 PM #6
A very unique story, and not at all boring. Welcome aboard!
November 16th, 2013, 08:46 AM #7
Cool story. Welcome to LGK!
November 18th, 2013, 07:05 AM #8
November 18th, 2013, 08:09 AM #9
Great story, thank you for sharing it. Also congrats on sticking through some very rough years. Makes the payoff well worth it.
November 18th, 2013, 01:30 PM #10
Wow. Thank you all for the warm welcome! I do appreciate it. I'm certain I will be seeing you all around this place for a long time to come.