LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 11: Members of the Los Angeles Kings pose for a group photo with the Stanley Cup after the Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 to win the Stanley Cup final series 4-2 after Game Six of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Don't get me wrong. I am an Avalanche fan through and through. The second I heard Colorado was getting an NHL club, it was done for me. I found my team, my hockey heart.
But the Kings are a part of me, too. I grew up with the Kings being the only hockey I knew, and I only knew what I saw on the sports recaps my dad watched. We weren't a hockey family. I didn't start really watching until the late 80s when my boyfriend and I spent nights on the couch watching games because we were broke. He was a Kings fan, so I became a Kings fan. I laughed at the Mighty Ducks and their marble-floored arena when they came around because I had the Forum and a team to match its gritty, hard-nosed, no-nonsense approach to the game. And I had Wayne Gretzky. Luc Robitaille. Tony Granato. Marty McSorley. Kelly Hrudey. They had Disney.
That Kings team, as it evolved over the next few years by adding in guys like Rob Blake, made me fall in love with hockey. The skill, speed, and aggression reached into my soul and said, "I've got you now." So no matter how much I loved that Canadian team with that Sakic fella and no matter how many chills I got when that Sakic fella came to Colorado, I still loved the boys that brought me to this wonderful sport and community.
That's why, even as the season dwindled and there was an Avs-Kings race to the finish line, it felt like a betrayal rooting against LA. I had in my mind, "If the Avs can't make it, please let the Kings get that spot." And that's why I wore a Kings jersey almost every day since the playoffs started. These were my boys, my original boys. What else could I do?
I know a lot of people out there bitch about Kings fans, especially those Avalanche fans who have gone to the Frozen Fury in Vegas. But here's the honest truth: their fans are awesome. Yes, they can be assholes. Yes, they can get in your face. Yes, they can make you consider 25 to life for murder worth it. But that's passion. Sincere, intense, heartfelt passion. So I don't mind the Gauntlet down the stretch at the MGM Grand. I smile, knowing that Kings fans still love their team, even through years of admitting hockey isn't horseshoes or hand grenades and braving mediocrity and ridicule for their hockey market. Their passion remained strong.
That's why the fans deserve this. They deserve to feel that pride in their team that they've loved through the good years and the bad.
I'm just thankful that I get to feel some of that pride. Last night, I cried as they passed the Cup from one to another; I cried because the Kings are my team, too. And last night, my team—the one I root for 78 regular season games out of the year—won the Stanley Cup. My only wish is that I could have been there, next to my best friend, watching it live.
Congratulations, Kings and fans; you deserve this moment.