As polarizing as Los Angeles Kings Governor Tim Leiweke is, no one can deny his classy act to honour former Kings Marcel Dionne and Rogie Vachon with Stanley Cup rings. Team President of Business Operations (and former teammate of Dionne’s) Luc Robitaille also hand a hand in the legends being awarded their new jewelry.
While neither player was a part of the 2011-12 version of the Kings, the fact that both Dionne and Vachon played so many years and had so much success with the club accounts for something. In addition, both began playing with the Kings when the club wasn’t very good on the ice and barely had a following off of it having both been traded from the hockey hotbeds of Detroit and Montreal respectively.
Nevertheless, both Dionne and Vachon were loyal to the Kings despite the aforementioned in addition to having to wear those hideous (but vintage) all-gold uniforms every home game and that loyalty paid off for both individually.
After spending the first four seasons of his NHL career as a Detroit Red Wing, Marcel Dionne was traded to the Kings in June 1975 and despite racking up 121 points with Detroit in 1974-75, his best days were ahead of him in Los Angeles. In his 12 years with the Kings, Dionne hit the 100-point plateau seven times and scored 90+ points in ten of those years. His work even helped the Kings pull of a dramatic opening-round upset of the high-powered Edmonton Oilers in the 1982 playoffs.
As for Vachon, while he won his only Vezina Trophy and Stanley Cups as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, it was in Los Angeles where he made his mark as one of the premier goaltenders in the game. Over the course of his seven-year stint with the Kings, Vachon averaged just over 24 wins and a 3.51 goals-against per season to go along with his 32 shutouts. Unlike Dionne, Vachon worked with the Kings organization in other capacities following his retirement including being the team’s assistant coach, head coach and general manager. It is worth noting that it was during his time as GM when the Kings acquired Wayne Gretzky.
While fans can admire Lieweke for helping lead the Los Angeles Kings to their first Stanley Cup title while others can loathe him for not reducing parking or ticket prices once the lockout ended, no one can argue what a noble gesture it was for him to give both Marcel Dionne and Rogie Vachon championship rings.
Both Dionne and Vachon contributed a great deal during their playing days with the Kings and there is a very good reason why you’d still see countless Number 16 and 30 jerseys walking around Staples Center. Decades later, both men still mean so much to the franchise and so much to the fans, even if some of them were born years later.
They may not technically be part of the team but as far as I’m concerned, both Marcel Dionne and Rogie Vachon will forever be Los Angeles Kings so they are just as deserving as anyone else in the Kings’ greatest accomplishment thus far.
Congratulations to both Marcel Dionne and Rogie Vachon. They deserve this.