Stanley Cup pays visit to excited fans in Glendale
Hundreds of fans from all over the Greater Los Angeles area greeted the Stanley Cup in Glendale on Wednesday, waiting as long as four hours to file into the community center's packed gym to share in the Los Angeles Kings' first reign as the National Hockey League champions by getting the chance to view the 120-year old chalice.
"It's like traveling with a rock star, except it doesn't talk," said Michael Altieri, the Kings vice president of communications and content. "People see it and they just light up, it's awesome to watch."
The Stanley Cup was on a nine-stop radio and TV studio tour Wednesday, and brothers Tony and Robert Valladares were at the front of the line outside Glendale's Pacific Community Center at 7 a.m. to catch their first glimpse of it in person, the Glendale News-Press reported.
"It's indescribable, there's no words," said Tony of the Kings' championship run. "With the way [the Kings] struggled and were very inconsistent [in the regular season], we always believed they could [win it] but we were never too sure. It's such a relief they won it."
Heading into the post-season the Kings certainly didn't seem poised to win their first Stanley Cup in 45 years. The Kings were seeded eighth — at the bottom of the Western Conference bracket — but still plowed through the playoffs with relative ease.
"I think the most meaningful component of it is sharing [the Cup] with the fans," Altieri said. "Just being in the marketplace for 45 years and never getting too close to winning it and going through the playoffs the way we did — 16-4 — was really a magical time, not only for the organization but the city."
For Ben Patao, an Atwater Village resident, Wednesday wasn't the first time he'd seen the Stanley Cup, but it was definitely the most special.
"This is the first time I have seen it actually as a fan of the team who's won it," said Patao, a self-proclaimed 25-year die-hard fan. "It's still unbelievable [we won] because we are so used to disappointment. It was kind of unreal to see it all unfold and all come together. When we finally had it, it was quite incredible, and still at times I don't think we have it yet."
The Stanley Cup is expected to have a busy summer, making its way across the U.S., Canada, Russia and Slovenia to spend time with each of the Kings players.
It is scheduled to visit Children's Hospital Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Fire Department on Thursday.
— Andrew Shortall, Times Community News