During first intermission of Saturday night’s Kings game, Dustin Brown met with a small, assembled group of media members to discuss what transpired earlier in the evening and reflect back on his career. Below are his comments:
Brown on the evening itself:
It was more than I ever imagined. I don’t like the attention, but I’m proud of everything. And I got to share it with a lot of important people in my life. So that’s the main thing. Mike [Altieri, Senior V.P. of Communications] told me it went really smoothly, so from a Kings perspective it was really good too.
On if he boiled his career down to one moment, what would it be:
From a public standpoint, that first time I lifted the Cup. Just from, maybe since I’ve retired, just running into fans. I tried to get that into my speech. It was just one of those moments. It was a moment for all of us. I talk to people, talk to fans, and it’s changed their lives. But the biggest moment is probably after that. It was just in that locker room over there. That’s just like the guys. That holds a special place in my heart. But, from a ‘in front of the world moment’ – yeah, I mean there’s nothing like that first one. Because it impacted so many people and you don’t realize that when you’re playing.
On people telling him ‘That changed my life’:
It’s overwhelming. I grew up playing hockey and wanting to be a hockey player. You don’t realize that sports have impacts far beyond the arena or the field. I was lucky enough to be a part of a group that changed a lot of things around here.
On when he learned tonight was going to happen and what was his reaction at the time:
It was like two days after we got knocked out of the playoffs. I had a meeting with Luc and Mike and Cheese [Kelly Cheeseman]. Mike can attest to this, I was a little uncomfortable with some of it. It’s a little overwhelming, especially when they tell me I’m going to have a statue. I asked who else has statues and they say, me and Gretzky. That made me a little uncomfortable. I told Mike, ‘I’m not ready with it right now, but give me some time and I’ll get there.’
On what he thought of the statue:
My first reaction, if I’m being completely honest, is it is really, REALLY big. [lots of laughter] That was my initial thought, I’m like looking up at the top and it was so tall. But it’s amazing. I also had someone who told me – if you get a statue, you don’t complain. But I think maybe I’ll touch on what Luc told me. I was uncomfortable in that meeting. And he made me feel better because I said, Luc, you’re you. Wayne is Wayne. He’s like, but you did something we couldn’t do here. And that made me immediately feel better about the whole situation. Then, as this night approached, [I thought about the fact that] I was part of a team that did it. That’s what I was trying to say tonight. It represents us all.
On getting choked up at different times during his speech:
When I started talking about the people, all of them as a whole. I think when you dream of playing in the NHL and winning a Stanley Cup, you don’t think about those relationships that you build that will last you far beyond your playing days. So, I remember when I was writing and thinking about it, I wish I had more time to include more people because they all meant something to me. It was Greener, Stollie, Carts, and the three who still play.
I played with all those guys. I don’t know, Gomer has the numbers, we’re looking at it. I played 1.000 games with a couple and all the other ones are like 600-plus. When you play that many games… and to be honest with you, some of those teams were not very good. You go through some really terrible moments together. And it’s just something about that group of players. It was great because the microphone was fixed [toward the crowd], so I could say their name and then not have to look them in the eye when I was about to cry. So, it worked out.
On how rare it is for active players for other organizations to show up for an event like this (referring to Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, Kyle Clifford, etc.):
That was one of the things we talked about planning. They were like, who [do you want there]? I said, anybody who wants to be here is more than welcome. I named a few. It was either in that same meeting or maybe a few weeks later, I said… part of the problem is, some of the players I want here are still playing and you guys gave me two days before you did this. I don’t know. I’m just overwhelmed by it all.
More on preparing for the night:
I talked to a lot of the [former Kings with] retired numbers leading up to it. I talked to Luc a lot. Every one of them just told me to embrace it and I tried my best to do that. In a way, I’m very happy that it happened all in one night. I don’t like the spotlight. So, to have two nights when we can get it done in one is really appreciative.
On the 2014 Stanley Cup run being more difficult than 2012:
2012 was special because it was the first time for a lot of us, except for Scuds and Stick, Justin Williams. It was the first time for all of us together to win. And then it was the first time for all the Kings fans. Where in 2014, it was just a terrible road to get there. I think I touched on it earlier, some of the hardest moments, some of the worst moments, that’s where you look to the guy next to you. You create a bond in that moment. Man, we had some moments. It was just never easy that year. Then, to finally get to it. Man, that’s the weird thing about that first one. It was never easy, but — man, we were up 3-0 in every series. People ask me, like my friends, which one was harder? It’s like, well, they were both hard but the second one was just a lot more work.
On if there is anything that caught him off guard or surprised him throughout this process that he wasn’t ready for:
Well, I thanked my teammates at the end of last season for giving me an opportunity to play for something, one more time in my career. When we lost in game 7, I figured I’d never see that trophy again. I did not know [the Cup would be here tonight]. I think like five people knew about that. So, when they brought that out, and gave me one last moment with that unbelievable trophy, it was amazing!
On the significance of hoisting again in basically the same spot as he did it the first time in 2012:
Not only the same spot, but probably — I don’t how many people are here — but, probably in front of a lot of the same people. That’s what THAT moment signifies. Not just for myself, but for the entire Kings family, fans; it was a special moment for a lot of us. It was really, really interesting and really fun to kind of relive it tonight.
On any other snapshots or special moments from his career that stand out:
It’s really hard to pick. I think that’s been the biggest thing for me since I’ve retired, is exactly that [moment that we were just talking about]. Just seeing regular people, LA Kings fans, at the grocery store. ‘Thanks for that Cup,’ It’s like the same story every time I see them and it’s like a different person every time I see them. They all say it. I just did pictures with the statue with fans and half of them were like, ‘2012 man, changed my life.’ That’s like a special thing that I share with them, that we all share with them. That’s why I like looking back at it. Because during that moment, that was my dream. I’m going to be frank; I wasn’t thinking about the fans in that moment. I didn’t think about the fans until you have 10 years to think about all this stuff. In that moment, I was just thinking about myself, my friends, my family, my teammates. It’s really cool to see that from the flip side of it.
On being a kid from upstate New York who went the Canadian major junior route, rather than U.S. college:
It was something I touched on it tonight in my speech. It was true. It was like May, my agent found me in New York. He asked, ‘Do you want to play in the Ontario Hockey League?’ I said, ‘What is that?’ And then he explained it to me. ‘You play like 68 games, you live with a family, travel around and play hockey on the weekends.’ I’m like, ‘So it’s like a mini-NHL.’ He said, ‘Kind of.’ I said, ‘OK, let’s do that.’ Then he had to just convince my mom. I think about that, especially as an American player. It was pretty uncommon. I remember going up there — and it’s a little different nowadays, I think — but also the game has changed. So my road was just so unique, I think, in that way. I grew up in Ithaca, New York. Cornell is a huge hockey school. I thought about going to Cornell just because that’s what I grew up on. I went to Cornell games when I was 5 years old. Then, all of a sudden, they were like, there is this other thing you can do. And I had great people around me the whole way, came here, it’s crazy.
On the idea of playing hockey in LA as somebody coming from New York:
I remember, I got drafted by LA and I came here. Flying in, I saw palm trees and all that, and was thinking, ‘How do they play hockey here?’ But I got here and got comfortable. Even early in my career, I kind of touched on the fans from 2012 and all that, but there were fans here. You got here and you had Kings fans. They weren’t the loudest. But you would see them around, and they would say ‘Go Kings.’ It was kind of a unique thing. Then, what we built and accomplished, it just exploded. Now you have young and old. It’s like a great hockey town. And, at least for a player like me, it’s a great place to play because they love their hockey — and I think it’s a great thing where you can be in a town, you can live your life, a normal life, without the pressures of playing in some of these other cities that, it’s like a crazy town. For me, at least my personality; I played in Canada, it’s like going to junior games. They think you’re a celebrity. That’s not for me. This is a town of celebrities, but not hockey celebrities. So, it was a great fit for my personality and the way I kind of operate.
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