Saturday, February 20, 2010

Soul on Ice

Ok, so one day, I get this phone call from my friends at AEG... "Hey Greg, how are you?? listen, the Los Angeles Kings are celebrating Black History Month...." I was like "yeah right... now I know we have a great relationshp but...... hockey??" c'mon..... Black People? and a hockey game? I have done a few five star events with them so I was glad to hear from them... But I was really surprised at what they had in store this time... I mean, we did parties with Serena Williams, inaugurated the Home Depot Center with world class track and field atheletes but nothing could prepare me for what I was hearing this time...

But quickly they would inform me that one of the LA Kings brightest stars this year was a young black man named Wayne Simmonds... yup, in the middle of the NHL Hockey season, the Kings are looking really competitive and one of the central reasons was this kid from Toronto.... They were really enthused with his play.... They told me he could score... he was not afraid to fight, obviously a key attribute in Hockey.. They compared him to Kobe Bryant's entre' into the NBA inasmuch that he did not play college Hockey nor come up through the NHL minor leagues... 

Ok. this is kind of interesting... but will it resonate with my audience.... We'll see...  So my colleague Marc Gaspard and I put our heads together and the promotion began... we really took the time and care to make this promotion a huge deal in the community of black Los Angeles.... We hooked up with Ingrid Hutt and the Los Angeles Sentinel and Eugenia Wright handled the PR.... we wanted this event to really pop and pop it did...

Thursday, Feburary 11 was the night as we descended on the Staples Center to witness history... The Kings faced off against the Edmonton Oilers. It was a beautiful night and our guest list was a veritable who's who of Black Los Angeles... I mean business leaders, politicians and celebrities rolled thru... Tachina Arnold sang the National Anthem and Willie O'Ree dropped the first puck...

We had a VIP suite in the Staples Center and hosted an awesome after-party complete with red carpet and paparazzi.... Just imagine 300 black people, none of whom really knew the game of hockey, all in one place to celebrate young Wayne Simmonds and the Los Angeles Kings. Even the Reverend Jesse Jackson came out to witness this awesome event. We met Willie O'Ree, the first black man to play in the NHL.... The game was exciting.... I even met a lady who exclaimed, "hey this is better than football!!" Imagine that!

In the end, the game went into double overtime and then a shootout.... The shootout is one on one hockey- one player and the goalie... The player shoots and if he makes it, the other team gets to shoot, gaining a chance to answer... Here, the Kings and Oilers shot it out into the late hours of the nite... King after King got up to shoot, eveyone missed..... But then Wayne Simmonds took the ice..... GOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! the Staples Center erupted into what would be the largest ovation of the nite... But alas, Edmonton would answer and even beat the Kings resulting in a loss for the Kings...

At the after party, all of our dignitaries gathered in the San Manuel Room of the Staples Center to celebrate and acknowledge Wayne... It was a nice affair with DJ James Reece spinning.... NHL Hall of Famer Luc Robaitaille, GM of the Kings came thru...  it was a really nice affair. It was here that Wayne was showered with proclamations and commendations from politicians from all over the region....

Black History Month with the LA Kings.... what an awesome event...... and you know what, now that I have experienced Hockey, I find myself keeping up with the sport.... I am a new fan.....

This is soul on ice.....

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

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rather confusing sites lately, this cleared up a lot confusion I had.

Villager said...

I went to two hockey games in my life ... it was a LA Kings game. It was before Gretzky ... actually it was when the Kings played in the Forum over in Inglewood.

My experience was just like yours ... it was an awesome event and I enjoyed the action on the ice, even though I couldn't tell you what a blue line was or any of the penalties.

I went to my second game a few years later at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit to see the Red Wings.

I'm a closet Hockey fan now. I haven't been to any other games, but, I enjoy following the Kings and the Red Wings and the Stanley Cup playoffs.

peace, Villager