June 4, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; A general view of youngsters playing street hockey before game three of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals between the New Jersey Devils and the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Pacific Teams Are Missing Out On An Opportunity

The Kings recently competed in a two-game series against their Southern California rivals, the Anaheim Ducks. However, it was not the big guns that took to the ice, it was the future of both organizations duking it out for their clubs and bragging rights. The Kings ultimately won out, and beat the Ducks 6-1 in the first game of the series at Honda Center and grabbed a 3-2 win in the second game at the Kings’ practice facility in El Segundo.

Even though the games do not really mean much, it was a good showing by the kids and it’s always fun beating the Ducks in anything. But here is a question, why do these games have to mean nothing? Obviously there is no way the games will amount to regular season intensity and implications, but why not get a little more than an exhibition title for these games.

A summer occurrence that I have always admired and been upset that I cannot attend is the Traverse City Tournament that takes place in Michigan. A tournament that brings in various NHL teams and puts their rookies and prospects against one another. This year’s tournament featured the Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild,  St. Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers.

The Red Wings ultimately walked away with the tournament title, their first number one finish in the tournament.

So why not one out west?

Hockey fans starve and try to feed their addiction in any way during the months of August and September. So the question, would the fans show up should not even be brought up. We’re hockey fans, if they play it we will come.

All three California teams have practice facilities more than capable of holding large amounts of people and could host more than one game at a time. If that is even a problem, the tournament doesn’t have to host eight teams like Michigan’s, it could be a smaller four or six team affair.

You have the Kings, Ducks and Sharks all locally in California. Then the Coyotes are a short distance away in Phoenix, then you can take your pick. Maybe bring in the Canucks, or maybe the Avalanche. Honestly it doesn’t really matter, the biggest thing is that their would be competitive hockey being played.

I don’t want to sound selfish but the tournament would likely have to be played in So Cal. Due to the fact both the Kings and Ducks fan bases would pack what ever games are being played and it would get the biggest most consistent turnout because of the two home town teams. But honestly, cycle through different rinks I don’t care. I just want this tournament.

So lets get on this. Hockey on the West Coast has grown exponentially and at a consistent pace. We need to stop letting the rest of the hockey world have all the fun and let some of the NHL enjoy summer on the California beaches.


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