Manor 25 Years Ago Today: The Final Fabulous Forum Kings Game

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While the high point in the Kings 50+ years of franchise history is their 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup victories, more than half their memories came in a building less than 10 miles away from their current palace in Downtown LA.

Longtime Kings fans still wax on about the inaugural purple and gold era of the late ’60s (a look started by the Kings and then copied by the NBA’s Lakers), the days of Rogie Vachon, exploits of Marcel Dionne, Dave Taylor as the captain, trading for — and away — Wayne Gretzky, and the demise of former owner Bruce McNall.

It all happened while the Kings played in Inglewood, specifically the Fabulous Forum.

Then, on April 18, 1999, it all came to an end.

The Kings played their final home game in the beloved building before moving to Staples Center for the 1999-00 NHL season.

Interestingly enough, for a Kings franchise seemingly eternally linked with the Flyers, they have a plethora of deep connections to the Blues, as well. The two clubs not only entered the league together in 1967, they faced off in the playoffs that season too. Fast forward to 1988 – just a year prior to the building closing — and it was the Blues who swept the Kings out of the playoffs in embarrassing fashion and a series that still stirs up bad memories for players like Sean O’Donnell:



Of course, the Kings and Blues also played some epic playoff hockey during LA’s aforementioned Cup years.

That was all more than a decade away from 1999, though.

Heading into their final regular season game at The Forum, LA was holding a 32-44-5 record, and they were about to be coached by NHL legend Larry Robinson for the final time.

In front of the Kings traditional sellout of 16.005 fans, it was the Blues who claimed a 3-2 victory that night, snapping LA’s three-game winning streak at the time.

Even though the Kings failed to make the playoffs for the fifth time in six years that season, there were several highlights from the game, including a debuting Jason Blake (no relation to defenseman Rob Blake).

The diminutive, yet hard-nosed, forward had signed a tryout contract the day before and went on to earn an NHL contract for the following season. He wore No. 11, making him one of the 20 players to have it stitched on his jersey before Anze Kopitar took over permanent claim of the double digits. The newly signed forward scored his first NHL goal midway through the third. It ended the Blues shutout and cut their lead to 3-1.

“The experience was awesome,” said Blake at the time. “The last game in The Forum and the first game I ever play in, what a great way to start your career.”

In goal, the Kings went with Stéphane Fiset. He made 19 of 21 saves and then was pulled during second intermission, giving way to Ryan Bach. It was only his third appearance for LA and he gave up the game winning goal.

So who scored that second goal for the Kings, aka the final goal ever at The Forum?

Vladimir Tsyplakov with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.

In perhaps the only consolation to the Kings faithful at the time, Blues winger Geoff Courtnall lacerated his nose in the first period and had to leave the game early. After the playoff series in 1998, he was enemy No. 1 for many.

Luc Robitaille failed to score in the game, leaving one goal short of setting a Kings record for the most 40-goal seasons.

For Kings fans not quite emotionally ready to make the move to DTLA, the Kings played two more exhibition games at The Forum a few months later. And that was it. There’s never been another hockey game there since.

Courtesy of the Kings PR team, here are few other images and game sheets via the team’s archives:

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