One more win.
That’s all it’ll take for a team known more for their merchandising and its place in pop culture --see any N.W.A. music video--, for a team that personifies the west coast, to finally have their name etched on the most prestigious trophy in the hockey world.
The Los Angeles Kings have taken that world by storm and are one win away from finally justifying the West Coast expansion all those years ago and giving the number two media market a hockey championship.
Sure the Anaheim Ducks did it a few years back, but who remembers that.
Be prepared for every kid, white, black and Latino to be sporting the black LA Kings jersey --team marketers finally woke up and realized no one likes purple.
They did it… and without Wayne Gretzky.
But what will this mean for hockey in Latino communities in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Tampa Bay and San José.
Don’t expect many of those Latinos and African-American kids wearing Kings jerseys to actually play the sport.
Like many Latinos who love hockey I fell in love with the sport a while back after watching Ray Bourque finally capture that elusive championship with Colorado Avalanche.
It was re ignited 5 years ago, as a joke to antagonize New York Rangers fans, but I became a big fan of the Montreal Canadiens.
I then took my 3 year old niece to a Phoenix Coyotes game in the desert where she fell in love with the sport and the team.
The next year I took her and my 2 year old nephew.
This year I took my mother to see game 5 of the Coyotes vs. the Chicago Blackhawks, the family’s first playoff game.
All three of them now watch it on TV with me, follow the Coyotes, and talk about how much fun the games are live.
But I doubt my niece and nephew will ever play the sport.
Let’s be honest, hockey is expensive and the cheapest way to play is to live in a naturally cold environment. So that just leaves rich kids and those who happen to be born in a historically hockey friendly area to dominate the sport.
But it’s OK.
Los Angeles will have their champions and like most things in LA will have its time in spotlight before its inevitable fall from grace.
When it comes to the warm weather markets you’re going to get some support but you won’t have a rabid fan base like say Detroit because they have a long history and an understanding of what it’s like to grow up with the sport.
Diversity is going to be low, but that’s fine. I don’t believe it’s for lack of effort.
In the end you can appreciate and love hockey for what it is. It’s a sport --a sport that takes talent and commitment.
Do I wish more Latinos would play in the NHL? Sure. Do I dream of a family member getting their name inscribed on Lord Stanley’s Cup? Yes. But I’m not going to hold my breath.
If the Kings finish this thing out, congratulations to them, I hope they sell a lot of merchandise and I hope Latinos learn more about hockey.
But right now I’m content with being a fan of what it is for what it is.