Stanley Cup: L.A. Kings fans urged to 'celebrate responsibly'
As hopeful fans plan what they would do if the Los Angeles Kings pull off a sweep tonight and capture the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history, officials are urging Angelenos to be safe in their post-game celebrations.
The Kings enter the 5 p.m. game, to be played at Staples Center, with a 3-0 lead over the New Jersey Devils in the best-of-seven series.
"This is an incredible moment for Kings fans and the city of Los Angeles," said Michael Roth of AEG, which owns Staples Center and L.A. Live. "We believe fans can celebrate responsibly."
Both AEG security and LAPD forces will be increased for the game, with police sources saying their presence would likely amount to hundreds of officers. The two entities have worked closely together to plan security for the playoff games in L.A., Roth said.
"As the Kings have progressed in each round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, we have made adjustments to our security staffing and overall plans to account for more people inside and outside of Staples Center, and continue to do that as we now have the clinching game," Roth said.
Police officers donned riot gear and, in some cases, fired rubber bullets to disperse crowds. Multiple injuries were reported by the end of the night, but no loss of life occurred.
Capt. Horace Frank said the LAPD was encouraging celebration of a Kings' victory but cautioned that the department would take a zero-tolerance policy toward lawlessness.
"We are going to have a very visible police presence in the area. We are going to facilitate that celebration with our presence," Frank said. "But the key is that fans celebrate responsibly."
Credit: Mike Quigley of Garden Grove celebrates with a crowd of Kings fans after the team won Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals Monday. Credit: Christina House / For The Times