LOS ANGELES (AP) — Darryl Sutter patted the glistening rim of the Stanley Cup, and a roar erupted from the Los Angeles Kings’ joyous fans.
“See this baby right here?” the coach asked. “She’s been gone for a couple of years, but oh, we’re happy she’s home.”
The Stanley Cup champions’ offseason party got into full swing Monday with a triumphant parade through downtown Los Angeles and a rally at the Kings’ arena to celebrate their second NHL title in three seasons.
The team estimated 300,000 fans lined Figueroa Street on a postcard-perfect L.A. day as the Kings rode nine double-decker buses and a flatbed truck about one mile to Staples Center.
The players showed off the Stanley Cup, the Campbell Cup for their Western Conference championship, and Justin Williams’ Conn Smythe Trophy while confetti flew and fans gave a nonstop standing ovation to the relentless team that has turned Southern California into a hockey capital.
The Kings then gathered at their arena for a packed rally celebrating the second championship in Kings history. The Kings didn’t win a title in their first 43 seasons, but they’ll have to make room in their rafters for two more banners celebrating their Stanley Cup and conference crowns.
“I’m honored and ecstatic to add another ring to my finger,” said Williams, the playoffs MVP and a three-time Cup champion. “And I’m proud to be a part of some guys’ first ones. Now let’s add to it next year.”
After a weekend spent celebrating with the Cup all around the Southland from downtown to the beach, the Kings and their supporters were still in a partying mood. Their rally was repeatedly punctuated by chants of “Go Kings Go!” and “We Want the Cup!”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti even cursed while addressing the crowd early in the live television broadcast, drawing laughs and cheers.
Garcetti’s curse actually continued a Kings championship tradition: Goalie Jonathan Quick infamously dropped a few profanities two years ago while praising his teammates during the same Staples Center rally. Before this year’s parade, Quick laughingly said he had been banned from speaking this time.