Kings announce shortened Fan Fest, nothing on Kovalchuk
Despite the success last summer of the Kings' first Hockey Fest, a three-day event that included interactive games, panel discussions and autograph sessions with players and alumni, the Kings have cut this year's event to one day and have moved it from the LA Live complex downtown to their practice facility in El Segundo.
The second Hockey Fest will be held Sept. 11 at the Toyota Sports Center from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets went on sale today at a cost of $15 for season ticket holders, partial plan participants and group leaders and at $20 for the general public. The $20 tickets can be purchased at www.lakings.com/hockeyfest2010. Only 2,000 tickets will be available for purchase.
It will again include question-and-answer and autograph sessions and will have team merchandise on sale, some of it discounted 40%, the Kings said in a news release.
But why shorten an event that seemed popular last year? Why not keep it the same or expand it?
Chris McGowan, the Kings' senior vice president of business operations and chief marketing officer, said it's a matter of balancing the number of off-season events so there aren't too many or too few. Having the NHL entry draft at Staples Center last month was a major undertaking for the Kings and a major event for fans, he said.
"With hosting the entry draft in June we felt it was best to have a one-day hockey fest this summer," he said. "Next season, Kings fans can look forward to us hosting a two-day fest that will fall on a Saturday and Sunday."
Since the event will take place on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Kings' charitable arm, the Kings Care Foundation, will host fundraising activities to benefit local organizations affected by the attacks.
The natural question is whether Ilya Kovalchuk will attend the Hockey Fest as a member of the Kings. If he has made a decision by then, of course.
There appears to be no major movement on that front. The Kings are still working on reaching an agreement with the free-agent left wing, several sources said, but Kovalchuk appears willing to continue to take his time. It's likely he's playing the Kings' last offer off against whatever the New Jersey Devils are willing to pay. Going home to Russia to play in the KHL seems a less likely option for him even though he might be able to get his magical $10 million per season there.
We'll keep you posted.