Anze Kopitar gives a nod to the past and a jersey to Charlie Simmer
In an informal but classy ceremony Sunday, Anze Kopitar presented the vintage No. 11 jersey he had worn Saturday to Charlie Simmer, who wore that number and that style of Forum blue-and-gold jersey when it was new.
"It’s an honor to wear your number,” Kopitar said as he passed the jersey to Simmer outside the Kings’ locker room at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. “Obviously you were a King legend.”
Simmer, best remembered as part of the Triple Crown line with Marcel Dionne and Dave Taylor, works for Canada’s Rogers Sportsnet as a TV show host. “I’m the James Charles Fox of Canada,” he joked, referring to the Kings' TV analyst, Jim Fox.
But he seemed genuinely touched to get the jersey that was so familiar to him. “I think No. 11 has gotten a lot faster and more talented the last couple of years,” he said. “I’ll always be a Kings fan. I’m going to keep my eye on 11 and see how many points it gets.”
Simmer said the retro jerseys, which the Kings are scheduled to wear three more times this season, are a big hit in Canada.
“People really enjoy them,” he said. “We have a big poker tournament where people win the jersey off your back. People were lining up to get my jersey. It’s a big thing among auction items.”
The jersey, incidentally, was laundered after Kopitar wore it Saturday at Vancouver. So there were no blood stains left from Kopitar’s unfortunate and painful encounter with Manny Malhotra’s stick. Kopitar needed 15 stitches outside his mouth and three inside to close the wound, and he also lost a false tooth. He returned for the third period and scored in the shootout, as the Kings rallied for a 2-1 victory at Vancouver.
More later from the newly renamed Scotiabank Saddledome at www.latimes.com/sports
Helene Elliott in Calgary, Canada
Photo: Kings center Anze Kopitar sports the vintage No. 11 jersey, once worn by Charlie Simmer, in Saturday's game against Vancouver. Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin / US Presswire