Finally, it’s happening.
Mayor’s Manor has confirmed, the LA Kings will host the 2024 NHL Rookie Faceoff in September at Toyota Sports Performance Center.
Officially re-launched as a six-team event in 2018, the roots of this tournament actually go back more than 20 years ago — at something born in Los Angeles and dubbed the Pacific Division Shootout in 2003 (more on that later in a follow-up article). Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Joe Pavelski are just some of the players who participated in those early events.
In more recent times, nearly every significant Kings prospect imaginable over the past seven years has suited up for games at the Rookie Faceoff, including: Mikey Anderson, Quinton Byfield, Martin Chromiak, Brandt Clarke, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Sean Durzi, Jakub Dvorak, Sammy Fagemo, Arthur Kaliyev, Rasmus Kupari, Alex Laferriere, Andre Lee, Jordan Spence, Akil Thomas, Alex Turcotte, and Koehn Ziemmer.
Next up, prior to the Kings opening training camp for their 2024-25 season, they’re set to take a turn hosting what has become a very popular showcase for up-and-coming NHL players. In fact, many of the games in other cities have sold out in advance.
And it’s easy to understand why. For all the talk about the World Junior Championships being the best showcase in the world for future NHL players — and it clearly is — the Rookie Faceoff has proven to be a great way for fans to see the next generation without having to travel very far.
After stops in Vegas (2018) and Anaheim (2019), Arizona had to wait an extra year to host it in 2021 due to the pandemic forcing a postponement of what the Coyotes originally had planned for September 2020. There was a further trickle down of changes in the coming years, beginning with what to do with LA, who was initially slotted to host in 2022. They ultimately stepped aside that year after the Sharks called and asked to show off their new 4,000 sq. foot arena that was purpose built for San Jose’s AHL affiliate. The Kings politely agreed to delay hosting until 2023. That too ended up not happening because the big club was tapped to play a pair of preseason games in Australia, which also meant opening training camp Down Under. Vegas jumped in at the last minute and hosted the 2023 Rookie Faceoff for the second time.
According to multiple sources, the Kings are officially set to — finally — host the 2024 version this September. While the official dates haven’t been locked in just yet, things are trending toward games being played Sept. 13-16. The other teams involved will be the same five who have been included since 2018: the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks, and Vegas Golden Knights.
Although the matchups are also yet to be finalized, each team is expected to play three games. Ideally, LA would schedule games against their biggest rivals in the tournament: Vegas, San Jose, and Anaheim.
When Vegas first hosted the reimagined event in 2018, all games were held at their training facility in Summerlin. A few years later, when Arizona hosted, they played all three of their home games at the same arena used by the Coyotes (with everybody else playing games at the Ice Den, their practice facility in Scottsdale). Last season, the Golden Knights did something similar, opting to schedule all ‘other’ games at their practice facility, while the Golden Knights played their Rookie Faceoff games in the much larger arena built for their AHL affiliate in Henderson.
As of now, all 2024 games are scheduled to be played at TSPC in El Segundo. The games are sure to be a hot ticket. Not only because TSPC doesn’t hold nearly as many fans as some of the other buildings mentioned above, but also because it’s been fairly common for the Kings to ‘sell out’ their black and white scrimmage game during previous camps.
During the summer of 2022, TSPC went through several renovations, including converting the original Olympic shaped rink to NHL measurements – giving them two regulation-sized sheets.
A potential game or games at Toyota Arena in Ontario is at least possible. Nothing will be able to take place at Crypto.com Arena, though, due to the ongoing remodel. Even the Kings will be moving their preseason games out of SoCal while those building improvements are taking place.
As for the on-ice action last year, the Kings failed to earn a win in three tries at the 2023 Rookie Faceoff. After dropping a pair of games by one goal each, the Ducks eventually defeated them 4-2 in the tournament finale. LA’s overall history at the Rookie Faceoff is as follows:
2018 – 0 wins
2019 – 1 win
2021 – 2 wins
2022 – 2 wins
2023 – 0 wins
Exactly who will put on a Kings sweater at the Rookie Faceoff in LA next September won’t be known until closer to the event. However, it should once again include all of their top prospects who are eligible, including several who will be selected at the NHL Draft in Vegas this coming June.
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