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L.A. Kings parade: Fans arrive early for spot along route

June 14, 2012 | 10:49 am

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Hundreds of determined Los Angeles Kings fans fought traffic, found parking and arrived at L.A. Live hours before the Kings Stanley Cup parade was set to begin at noon Thursday.

Many said they had waited 45 years for the Cup and if they endured that long, they were more than willing to wait another few hours if it meant a good seat along the parade route.

“It’s a dream that I’ve had since I was little,” said Erica Dill, a 25-year-old fan who said she started crying when the Kings won Monday. “You think they’re going to win the Cup every year.”

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About 9 a.m. Thursday, fans who had tickets to the rally at Staples Center streamed into the plaza at L.A. Live, hoping to soak in the excitement before their favorite team arrived.

Andrew Erskine, 43, drove in from Las Vegas and said he wouldn’t miss the parade “for the world.”

“You’ve got the typical bandwagon fans that jump on and [the team] has accepted them with open arms,” said Erskine, who moved from Huntington Beach about six years ago.

Those who didn’t have rally tickets went for the next best thing, setting up lawn chairs and buying coffee as they waited on Figueroa Street for the Kings and the Cup to roll by later in the day.

Some fans, such as Eric Roberts, 20, came with a group and set up bathroom and food rotations to help fight the boredom and stay awake.

It would be difficult to fall asleep in the area, because vuvuzelas honked throughout the morning and thunder sticks were strewn across the sidewalk.

“We wanted to beat the crowds, and honestly we’ve waited for so long for the Stanley Cup, we didn’t want to miss the celebration,” Roberts said.

Many of the fans said they had followed the team for decades and remember going to games in the smaller, more intimate Forum.

It heartened Hector Maldonado, 36, to see a giant Kings banner across the front of the Staples Center after attending his first Kings game in 1982. With what he called his “authentic hockey beard,” Maldonado said seeing the Kings hoisting the Cup in person will be  “a very special moment that I will hold in my heart.”

Said Maldonado: “It’s a blessing to be here with all these beautiful fans sharing this victory in the city of L.A., where the Stanley Cup deserves to be.”


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-- Matt Stevens at L.A. Live

Photo: Kings fan Alexis Piercy, 11, of Palmdale shows her spirit as she joins her family and crowds lining Figueroa Street. Credit: Allen J. Schaben  / Los Angeles Times