Recently, we provided several details about some of the Kings’ upcoming plans for next season, which will be their 50th in the NHL. Part of the fun being worked on includes a two-game Frozen Fury weekend in Las Vegas, a new grey jersey, and the 2017 NHL All Star Game.
Earlier today, commissioner Gary Bettman made the latter official via a press conference in Nashville. Afterward, AEG executive Kelly Cheeseman shared the following thoughts with MayorsManor…
When did you first start thinking about going for the All-Star Game?
As early as, let’s say January or February of last year, is when it really became apparent that it’s going to become available. And we were just kicking around a number of different big game concepts to play in the 50th season. This option came up from the league. We started talking about it. We first talked to them in June of last year, and then it’s kind of been grinding all the way for the last couple of days to get the contract done and get to the announcement here.
Was it important to get the game for 2017, specifically, with it being the franchise’s 50th anniversary?
Yes, absolutely. The 50th anniversary was the critical piece for us. We always like to try to do big things in our market. As we were planning for the 50th, we wanted to deliver the fans something big. And it became more about hockey at that point, rather than just the Kings, so the All Star Game was a great opportunity.
What lessons did you learn while hosting in 2002?
I think it’s a completely different landscape than 2002. I mean, L.A. Live didn’t exist then. It was a much more spread out All Star Game, so this one will have a very centralized, walking, downtown L.A. destination that’s going to be vibrant for all the fans. Not only Kings fans, but the fans from all over the country.
What type of event is this going to be? You say it will be big.
We learned a lot of lessons here from Nashville this week. Just look at what they’re doing here in Winter Park with all the action, and the way that they’ve really hosted in a big, big way. We want to be able to showcase Los Angeles in the same way. With entertainment and the food, and the great changes that downtown Los Angeles has — the weather. All of that can come together and make it a big opportunity.
Can you give us any other hints for things you have planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary?
Nothing right now, but in a couple weeks, February 9th, that’s going to be the official anniversary date when we were initially awarded our franchise. So, we’ll be coming out with something in the next couple of weeks.
Special thanks to Dennis Bernstein of The Fourth Period magazine for helping shag the quotes.
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