“For the first time in their 45 year history, the Stanley Cup for Los Angeles…The Kings are the Kings!!!”-Doc Emrick NHL Broadcaster
June 11th 2012 game six of the Stanley Cup Finals, a moment 45 years in the making. The Los Angeles Kings, my team since I was nine years old finally won the NHL’s ultimate prize: the Stanley Cup.
Between mid-April until June the Kings put on a performance that was improbable and astounding. The 8th seed in the Western Conference, the Kings beat the number 1, 2, and 3 seeds in consecutive rounds. They set a record by winning 10 consecutive road games and became the first team to start every series 3-0.
A team that was 28th in goals during the regular season all of a sudden couldn’t stop scoring putting up 3 goals a game. They played the same kind of clamp down defense they had all season. When the defense broke down, there was Jonathan Quick.
The Kings goaltender in one playoff erased every nightmare of failed playoff pasts and vaulted himself onto the Mount Rushmore of American goalies. Quick posted a 16–4 record with a 1.41 GAA, a .946 save percentage and three shutouts to win the Conn Smythe trophy as the playoff MVP.
The Kings took 45 years of the fans pain and suffering and in one moment wiped it all away, they took the fans on the ride of their life that culminated with Dustin Brown hoisting the Stanley Cup.
On the sixth anniversary of that very moment, here are some fan perspectives.
Nicole: For game 6, I was at Staples Center. I had driven home 3 hours from college during finals week because I didn’t want to miss the chance to see them win in person. I remember being so incredibly nervous that we were going to lose and have to go to a game 7. Once we scored those goals from Scuderi’s penalty, I started getting confident. The last two minutes felt like the longest two minutes of my life. I started crying and remember feeling nervous that people were going to see me crying. But when I looked around at the crowd, multiple people were also crying. I started hugging the other season ticket holders around me who I had basically grown up with over the years. We all got to enjoy it together. It was magic. My favorite memory from the whole night was watching Dustin Brown pass the cup to Willie Mitchell. This night is unashamedly one of the best nights of my life. I still tear up when I see things about it.
Mike: I was at home and I don’t think I sat down the entire game. I spent the start of the 3rd period thinking that the Kings were going to finally raise the cup, though reserved my emotions despite the 4-1 lead. Then, we got two more goals and I started to shake. It was happening. Still, I was not going to celebrate until that horn sounded. The heart was pounding, the smile was growing, the tears were rolling. The team I had loved since grade school was about to be the best team in the league and were going to get their name etched on Lord Stanley’s Cup. The horn finally sounded and so did I. I gave an otherworldly blast followed by a series of “woooooos”. I started running around the house, unable to contain my excitement. The Kings were Stanley Cup Champions. I would remember this moment forever.
Howard: My wife Carla and I were sitting in row 3 of section 333 for the 2012 play off run … We knew going into Game 6, there was a chance the Kings could clinch the Cup on home ice. The pre-game video for that playoff run was My Chemical Romance’s, “Welcome to the Black Parade”, which had the crowd pumped. There was a nervous excitement for the first several minutes. When Steve Bernier was assessed a 5 minute major for spilling Scuderi’s blood all over the ice, we were hoping the Kings could manage one, or if we were lucky, two power play goals.
Staples Center had been getting progressively louder as the Kings progressed through each series. When Brown, Carter and then Trevor Lewis scored on that major power play, the crowd was louder than anything I had ever heard. The last few minutes were a blur of people screaming, laughing, crying and hugging total strangers. I’m a transplant who started following the Kings after living in LA for several years. Carla is a native Angeleno who has been following the Kings since the Gretzky trade. She had season seats at the Forum and went through the good and mostly bad years. Carla thought she would be in the old age home before she ever saw the Kings win the Stanley Cup. She said more than once that she wished her father had lived to see this. I have always felt there is nothing like seeing playoff hockey in person. There is absolutely no feeling like seeing your home team win their first Stanley Cup in person.
Three fans perspectives, all with something in common: joy. The joy of realizing that the team you cheer for would finally be champions. The players you saw go from draftees, to rookies, and now superstars, would lift the most prestigious trophy in hockey.
That is what the night on June 11th 2012, was all about.