Robitaille on AHL Reign, Kings, preseason, and more

Ontario Reign AHL presserRepresentatives from the LA Kings descended upon Ontario late Wednesday afternoon to unveil the new jersey to be worn by the team’s AHL affiliate when they begin playing in Southern California this coming October. After the press conference, we had a chance to catch up with Luc Robitaille, President of Hockey Operations, who shared the following thoughts…

On why the Kings decided to go with a black and white jersey for the Reign:
“As an organization, when we switched for the Kings, we asked our players and they wanted to go that route. So, we always feel that if the player loves something, then the fans will love it, because then they love to play in their jersey and everything. So when we recreated this, we knew it was important for us to keep the same kind of coloring, because we want to keep the same pants, same gloves. I can’t remember how, but someone designed this logo and when we saw it we were like – it kind of felt this was it. We looked at a bunch of different things, but we kept coming back to this. We debated whether… if you recall [the logo was originally] gray on the inside, but we kind of like the black, to stick with what we have. You know, we always talk about the Kings, that we’re all Kings. We’re all one big family, so we kind of wanted to be part of the same family even though the Reign would have their own identity.”

On the importance of having a marketing vehicle in the Inland Empire:

“We know there is a huge amount of, first of all, hockey fans, and we know there’s a huge amount of Kings fans [in the area]. So we want to make sure we cater more to them. We think Justin Kemp and his team, they did such a good job here. We should have probably helped them more, but you only have two hands and two legs. Now, this is our team that we need to cater to. We understand from the marketing standpoint of it, it’s very important to be involved and it’s going to help the growth of the Kings branding for sure, but more importantly it’s going to help the growth of hockey.”

On if he expected this when the Reign were first launching eight years ago:

“No, but I could tell you, five years ago I believed it. I pushed it; we all pushed it as an organization. We knew it was important. We knew it was important first, for our hockey [team], for Dean Lombardi, for Rob [Blake], for Ron Hextall, at the time. But at the same time, seeing the success they had [at the AHL level], we knew it was important for the organization.”

On if the regular season schedule will be reduced to 68 games, as rumored:

“We’re still talking. We have an opportunity to bring it down. If we could bring it down, we’re not big fans of doing three in three nights, none of us are. It’s something that’s important to us. We want to make sure that the level of play is consistent. Three in three nights is good for business, but it’s not good for hockey. It’s not good for the growth of hockey; it’s not good for the young men that are playing. So that’s something that we are really looking at and trying to finalize hopefully in the next few weeks.”

On the possibility of the new Reign playing a preseason game vs. the Kings:
“We’re talking about what we’re going to do. We’d love to bring our team here, maybe some of our young guys here. The cool thing is the Ducks are going to [have their AHL affiliate nearby also], so we will be able to do a lot of stuff with them. Whether it’s rookie games, or training camp games, or preseason games and so forth. So we’re looking at all those options but nothing is confirmed yet.”

On the possibility of the Kings playing a preseason game in Ontario:
“We’re going to look at it. Since the new CBA, you’re allowed to do eight games. Our coaches want to do six. If they could only do four, we would do four. Our team has played [a lot] of games in the last three years, so everything we’re doing is resting. Because of the amount of games we have is so restricted. it’s something we’re going to look at over time but we haven’t really talked about it as of now.”

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