I honestly had no idea it would be like this. I figured the Los Angeles Kings would win the Stanley Cup and I'd be blogging non-stop about it until training camp starting in September. Don't get me wrong... this feeling I've had for the past 6 days is unlike anything I've ever experienced in my 25 years of being a fan of the sport of hockey. It's the perfect mixture of total euphoria and complete satisfaction. I've been walking around with my head in the clouds... constantly repeating to myself that the Los Angeles Kings are the Stanley Cup Champions as if in case I don't repeat it over and over it will somehow be taken away. Every time I see a photo on the internet of a player holding the Cup or a highlight from any of the 20 games they played... my eyes start welling up all over again. I have to assume that eventually these memories will fade away but one thing is for certain... the names of the people who matter the most in all of this will be forever etched into the greatest trophy in the world.
Since no matter what it was the final home game of the 2011-2012 NHL Season, Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy, Indiana Matt and Duke of LA Hockey decided to meet up and tailgate before the game just like how all good red-blooded American sports fans do...
...by eating our weight in Sushi.
The best part of the last home game of the season is seeing all the friends you've made over the year for one final time before either seeing them in October or never seeing them again. Luckily, I was able to run into one of my oldest hockey friends... someone I spent a lot of time talking LA Kings hockey with as we hung out at the Iceoplex in the 90's. And we got to take a photo together 3 hours before the LA Kings won the Stanley Cup.
But honestly... who cares about old friends when there is merchandise to buy?!? I can only imagine how sweet the gear must be inside of Team LA with only 3 periods to play before the LA Kings can win the Stanley Cup!
Oh... this is awkward.
Apparently, the NHL is now hiring Indiana Matt to design all their t-shirts.
Finally, the NHL goes after that huge "Sports Fan/8-Bit Video Game Nerd" market.
Just one quick stop before heading to my seat for Game 6.
I have to say... I've never been a huge fan of this kind of thing...
but man, did this feel good.
And then this happened:
Sure, it's not as cool as this video... but it's all I've got.
I've never wanted to be Jon Quick so much in my life.
"Um, hey guys. I have the Conn Smythe over here.
You should really pay attention... I'm kinda your boss."
I've seen patients at hospitals transferred with less care
than the Stanley Cup coming onto the ice.
Just pure awesomeness.
Really surprised Drew Doughty wasn't wearing a Championship Blue Jays hat.
I love how he pretends he doesn't see the camera right in his face.
Shit, even Phil Anschutz stopped acting like Howard Hughes long enough to join the celebration.
I never wanted to be the Stanley Cup so bad in my life.
It's cute that they even let Jon Stevens hold it.
Oh, it is happening people.
Ever since they won, everyone I know has been asking me what it felt like to be there... what the best part of the night was. For me, it was hanging out in my seat for nearly an hour after the game ended watching the players hug each other and their families as they all took photos with the Cup.
Because we can tweet it, facebook it, pinterest it... getting a photo of yourself at an event like this is what being a sports fan is all about.
Me and my Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy.
Indiana Matt and Duke of LA Hockey.
Each of whom has been waiting nearly 2 1/2 years for this day.
Some random LA Kings fans just being awesome.
Sadly, it was time to leave Staples Center... and head out into the streets of LA Live to fuck some shit up, YO!!!
Oh... this is awkward.
No, guys... like right now. Like literally right now it's available!
Sure... it's no more classier than CityWalk... but this night, LA Live was looking pretty special.
Seriously... is there one photo that sums up Los Angeles hockey any better than this?
The LAPD did an amazing job of keeping everybody on the straight and narrow. And the sentiment amongst LA Kings fans outside Staples Center seemed to be one of trying to look good for the world that was watching in... and not be compared to Lakers fans.
In fact, the LAPD did such a great job of moving people away from LA Live... everyone just assumed all the bars and restaurants within it were closed. So we got a great table at the Yardhouse after the game... and celebrated the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings the only way a couple of red-blooded, American boys know how...
With Mexican Nachos and a Thai Chicken Pizza.
And as myself, Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy, Indiana Matt and Duke of LA Hockey sat there and drank our beers and ate our fancy California pizza... the reality of the situation we had experienced this evening hit us right in the face.
Oh god... HERE COME THE TEARS AGAIN!!!
And then a few days later... I bought something that I'll be wearing for easily the next 45 years of my life.
Is it weird that I cry every time I look at this hat?
If you aren't completely in tears by now... be sure to check out myself, Podmaster General Jesse Cohen and John Hoven from Mayor's Manor as we share our memories of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Check the latest All The Kings Men here, subscribe to it on iTunes or listen below.
And if that isn't enough media for you... then Spike Coffman has created the ultimate ringtone for your iPhone device. It's Nick Nickson's call of the Los Angeles Kings winning the Stanley Cup. You can download it here.