MayorsManor Live Radio with Justin Kemp, Ontario Reign President

Hockey in Southern California sure has come along way in the past 25 years. The area has gone from having one NHL franchise to two clubs – both of which have won the Stanley Cup – plus, a thriving minor league team.

The Ontario Reign, the LA Kings’ ECHL affiliate, are set to kick off their fifth season later tonight. Over the past four years they’ve been near the top of the league in attendance (including leading all teams in tickets sold last year) and have won two Pacific Division titles.

It hasn’t always been smooth sailing though. As their team President Justin Kemp told us last summer, he’s been frustrated that the Kings haven’t assigned more prospects to his club. Although Jordan Nolan and Dwight King made stops in Ontario, they were brief. Most of their professional development before coming to the Kings took place in Manchester. The situation reached a boiling point last August when Kemp was exploring adding a second NHL affiliate – something the Kings appeared to be less than thrilled about.

Making matters worse, the Reign lost their coach just weeks before the season opener last year when he took another job elsewhere.  Kemp quickly scrambled to pull things together, eventually hiring Jason Christie as the head coach and adding former Kings assistant coach Mark Hardy in a supporting role.

The group went on to finish with a franchise-best 43-21-5-3 record and Kemp was eventually named the ECHL Executive of the Year.

Now, for the third season in a row, he joins us on MayorsManor to kick off the new campaign and provide a ‘state of the franchise’ type review of where things stand – offering a look back and turning an eye to the future as well.

Some of the topics we’ll touch on include:

– At least four NHL players have signed on to play in the ECHL during the lockout. Will Ontario follow suit?

– A review of Christie’s performance behind the bench

– A review of Hardy’s performance in his new role

– Selling hockey in Southern California

– The return of Kyle Kramer, who suffered a serious on-ice injury late last season

– What Nolan and King mean to the organization

– His ongoing relationship with the Kings

– Is adding a second affiliate still on the table?

– Ticket deals for local hockey fans wanting their fix during the lockout

All of that and much more, so let’s get started…

NOTE: If you’re on an ipad or iphone, click here to listen to today’s episode.

Please note that right after we finished recording this episode word came down that Kings’ goaltending prospect JF Berube – who spent last season with the Reign – had been reassigned from Manchester to Ontario.   In fact, he’s expected to be with the club in Stockton tonight. It’s actually a much better situation for Berube too, as he’ll get the bulk of starts in Ontario, rather than play sparingly for the Monarchs behind Martin Jones.

For more info on the Kings minor league affiliates, click here to check out a recent show we did with Manchester head coach Mark Morris. He’ll give you all the latest updates on more than a dozen of the Kings’ top prospects – including Tyler Toffoli, Brandon Kozun and Andrei Loktionov.

We’ll also be on hand to provide coverage of the Reign’s home opener tomorrow night. So, be sure to follow along on twitter or facebook for all the latest updates.

Recent Articles

This Date in LA Kings History: October 28

On October 28, 1998, goaltenders Stephane Fiset and Manny Legace shared a shutout in the @LAKings' 4-0 win against the New Jersey Devils. Fiset made 23 saves before being pulled in the second period due to an injury, and Legace made 17 saves in relief.#LAKings #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/sy4SOLKYGg
— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) October 28, 2020

Happy birthday to […]

This Date in LA Kings History: October 27

Happy birthday to former @LAKings forward Brian MacLellan, who was born on October 27, 1958.#LAKings #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/jc2RG76Avt
— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) October 27, 2020

On October 27, 2011, Jonathan Quick set an @LAKings’ record by not allowing a goal for 202 minutes and 11 seconds. Quick's shutout streak ended in the #LAKings' 5-3 win against the Dallas […]

Kings Of The Podcast: Ep. Q23 with Aidan Dudas and Jacob Ingham

Joining us all the way from Germany for back-to-back guest spots on Kings of the Podcast are prospects Aidan Dudas and Jacob Ingham.
Among the topics discussed:
– Playing for Eisbären Berlin
– Food, fashion, and fun going on in Germany
– NHL Draft
– Goaltending Coach Matt Millar
– World Junior Championship
– Akil Thomas, Sean Durzi, and Blake Lizotte
– […]

Major News Items

Anatomy of a Draft Pick – How the Kings Decided on Byfield

It seems that nearly every year there is a debate among two players either at or near the top of the NHL Draft board. This year was no exception, with Quinton Byfield vs. Tim Stuetzle being a common theme among … [Read More...]

More Prospect News

About John Hoven

John Hoven is a member of the of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and co-hosts Kings of the Podcast. He is also the founder and editor of MayorsManor.com, which has been named Best Sports Blog in Los Angeles by LA Weekly and Hockey Blog of the Year by Yahoo Sports. Click "ABOUT OUR TEAM" above for a full bio.

Comments

  1. Diana Ramirez says

    We were told Cole is back….is she going to do the player interviews? We enjoyed the videos a lot.

    • John Hoven says

      Cole Volmer is back as the in-arena host for sure. She’s likely doing the videos again too, won’t know for sure until tomorrow though (home opener). When I see her I’ll ask.

  2. Cole is the only reason I buy Reign tickets

Trackbacks

  1. […] For the third straight year, Ontario Reign President Justin Kemp stopped by the MayorsManor radio show this past week to give us a ‘State of the Franchise’ report. He talked about the performance of the team’s coaches, his ongoing relationship with the Kings’ front office, the possibility of more NHL players skating in the ECHL during the lockout and much more. Give it a listen here. […]

  2. […] Also, for the third straight year, Ontario Reign President Justin Kemp stopped by the MayorsManor radio show last week to give us a ‘State of the Franchise’ report. He talked about the performance of the team’s coaches, his ongoing relationship with the Kings’ front office, the possibility of more NHL players skating in the ECHL during the lockout and much more. Give it a listen here. […]