With the National Hockey League over its three-month work stoppage, the Los Angeles Kings hit the ice Sunday morning at 10 a.m. for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup last June. A couple hundred fans were at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo to watch the first formal workout of pre-season training camp and hook up with friends. A few fans cheered when the first players trickled onto the ice surface to warm up, but then it was just another Kings training camp — no celebratory reception or ceremony. Nothing like the crowd at LAX in the middle of the night in May. (Added: Or the estimated 4,000 season ticket holders who showed up yesterday at Staples Center to meet the players.)
The Kings will open Staples Center for free on Monday evening if fans want to come in and watch a practice. The practice starts at 7 p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports West. Free tickets can be downloaded from Ticketmaster starting at 6 p.m. today.
The actual season begins, after a mere week of training sessions, on Saturday at noon at Staples Center, with the Stanley Cup banner ceremony and a game against the Chicago Blackhawks.