NHL: Get To Know The Los Angeles Kings' Forwards (UPDATED)

Danielle ParenteauContributor IDecember 24, 2010

NHL: Get To Know The Los Angeles Kings' Forwards (UPDATED)

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    The following slide show will give you the chance to learn about the forwards of the National Hockey League's Los Angeles Kings. But, you will not find stats or any other information in regards to their playing. Rather, this will focus on each individual player as a person. Details will vary by player but may cover their favorite things, families, education, and more.

    This slideshow will cover the forwards only, but the defensemen and goalies will get their own soon.

Get To Know The Los Angeles Kings: Dustin Brown

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Kings' captain Dustin James Brown was born on Nov. 4, 1984 in Ithaca, N.Y.

    He and his wife, Nicole, live in Manhattan Beach with their two sons, Jake and Mason, and the family dog, Milo. Jake was born February 2008; Mason came prematurely in February of 2009, weighing four pounds, four ounces. Nicole is expecting the couple's third child.

    She has played hockey since the age of three and still plays at times. Dustin and Nicole first met at a hockey tournament.

    In an interview, Nicole says that he is great at helping with the kids, mentioning that he "changes diapers, wakes up in the middle of the night, and he never complains."

    Some of Brown's favorites are:

    • Musical acts: Kings of Leon and Dave Matthews Band
    • TV show: Rescue Me
    • Movie: The Shawshank Redemption
    • Actor: Edward Norton
    • Road city: Chicago
    • Road arena: American Airlines Center
    • Sport (besides hockey): Lacrosse (In fact, he has said he was better at lacrosse than hockey when he was younger.)
    • Hockey player (as a child): Peter Forsberg
    • Place to visit: Hawaii
    • Book: Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell

    Brown is a baseball fan. Growing up, he played catcher and loved the Yankees.

    As a member of the Guleph Storm, he was named the Canadian Hockey League's Scholastic Player of the Year for 2002-03 for his combination of skill on the ice and in the classroom.

    The first job he had was working at a golf course. His career of choice would be teacher, had he not become a professional hockey player.

    He has worn No. 23 since high school. He got it then because it was the last number available.

    Brown is both the first American and the youngest ever to captain the Kings.

    He has been described as "one of the quietest, most unassuming" Kings.

    He does his part to help the environment by carpooling with some of his teammates.

    He supports the charity KaBoom! He recently took the lead in helping build a playground.

    Brown has urged other Kings to support the people of Haiti.

    Earlier this month, he helped the Make-A-Wish Foundation by granting the wish of six-year-old leukemia patient William McLeod from southern California. Brown invited Will, his brother, and the boy's parents to join the team at one of their practices. After the team was finished, the family got to go on the ice with Brown and a few other Kings to skate and shoot the puck around. Then, Brown gave them a guided tour and presented Will with a basket full of Kings gifts.

    The boy said he wanted to meet Brown because,

    “I love to skate and play hockey and always watch the games with my dad, and Dustin Brown is the best player ever.”

    Watch the Fox Sports West coverage of their interaction here.

    For each of the past two years, he has been a finalist for the NHL Foundation Award.

    Read here for more information on Brown's charitable efforts and interaction with Will McLeod.

    Watch Beyond the Athlete for "an exclusive look at the NHL star's life off the ice."

    Brown has his own Twitter and Facebook pages.

Get To Know The Los Angeles Kings: Kyle Clifford

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    Clifford in a scrap with the Anaheim Ducks' Aaron VorosJeff Gross/Getty Images

    Kyle Frank Clifford was born Jan. 13, 1991 in Ayr, Ontario, Canada. Ayr, which is located west of Toronto, is home to about 3000 people.

    Clifford is nicknamed "The Colonel" because of his initials: KFC.

    He made his NHL debut three days after he found out a close friend from childhood had died.

    "It definitely gives you a different perspective on life, as far as just how quick things can change," said Clifford.

    Read here for the full story.

Get To Know The Los Angeles Kings: Michal Handzus

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    Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

    Michal Handzus was born March 11, 1977 in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia.

    The man also known as "Zeus" has a girlfriend named Zuzana.

    Some of his favorites include:

    • Actor: Milan Lasica
    • Band: Elan
    • Movie: Avatar
    • TV show: Friends
    • Newspaper: Tyzden
    • Road city: Philadelphia
    • Non-hockey sport: Tennis
    • Hockey player (as a child): Dusan Pasek
    • Athlete: Roger Federer
    • Road arena: Wells Fargo Center
    • Food:  Sulance s makom (Noodles with poppy seeds)
    • Moment in hockey career: Winning gold at the 2002 World Championship

    His favorite actor, band, newspaper, hockey player, and food are all Slovakian or Czechoslovakian.

    Handzus supports various Slovakian charities such as Arena Barani. In addition, he helps the environment by recycling.

Get To Know The Los Angeles Kings: Anze Kopitar

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Anze Kopitar was born on Aug. 25, 1987 in Jesenice, Slovenia. Jesenice can be found in northwestern Slovenia and has a population of around 20,000. His father is Matjaz, and his mother is Mateja. He has a younger brother named Gasper. His family lived in Hrusica, a small village outside of Jesenice. HIs father is a coach and his brother a player for the L.A. Junior Kings Midget AAA team.

    He wrote My Story: Anze Kopitar for the Kings website as part of an ongoing feature of players "telling his story on how he became passionate about this game we all love."

    "As soon as I had the ability to stand up, I got a hockey stick and then I started skating," writes Kopitar.

    He left home at around 15 to play in Sweden.

    "I went by myself, and I lived alone in an apartment. I had to take care of myself, do the dishes, the ironing, and the laundry," he writes in My Story. "So it was pretty tough at first but then it made me mature a lot quicker than I would have in normal circumstances."

    He came out of the experience having learned something new.

    "While I was there I picked up some Swedish. I can understand the language well. By the end of the first year I could pretty much understand everything the guys were saying, but I didn't really have the courage to talk back in Swedish so I would answer in English....every person I met in Sweden spoke some English...That made the transition from Slovenia a lot easier."

    His nickname is "Kopi". His first name is pronounced "on-jay."

    His girlfriend is named Ines.

    For his first job he worked at Gostice Kopitar, his family's restaurant in Hrusica.

    He helps the environment by recycling.

    If he did not play hockey, he would want to be an architect.

    He is friends with NBA player and fellow Slovenian Sasha Vujacic.

    He likes to spend his free time with his brother and friends, playing basketball, volleyball, tennis, or soccer. He also likes to read.

    Some foods he likes are pancakes, Greek, Mexican, and sushi. Also, he eats pasta before every game.

    Some of Kopitar's favorite things are:

    • Place to visit: Croatia
    • Cuisine: Mateja's cooking
    • Actress: Jessica Alba
    • Actor: Charlie Sheen
    • TV shows: Two and a Half Men and CSI: Miami
    • Movies: Pirates of the Caribbean and Happy Gilmore
    • Non-hockey sports: Tennis, basketball, and golf
    • Hockey player (when he was growing up): Sergei Fedorov
    • Athlete: Roger Federer
    • Road city: Chicago
    • Road arena: Rexall Place
    • Musical acts: Kocka and Siddartha
    • Magazine: The Hockey News
    • European arena: O2 (in London)
    • NBA player: Kobe Bryant
    • Quote: "Don't be afraid to live your dreams."

    He is a fan of practically every sport. In addition to tennis, basketball, and golf, he also enjoys baseball, soccer, skiing, cycling, and swimming, among others.

    He lists his idols as Fedorov, Federer, Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, and Zinedine Zidane. If he had to pick one above the rest, though, it would be Fedorov.

    He does a great deal of work for charity, including raising money for the Jesenice General Hospital Children's Wing. He also hosts youth camps in Kranjska Gora, found in the Julian Alps.

    He is a member of WePlay.

    He has his own website: anzeseleven.com.

Get To Know The Los Angeles Kings: Trevor Lewis

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Trevor Lewis was born on Jan. 8, 1987 in Salt Lake City.

    He is sometimes called "Lewy."

    Kings scribe Rich Hammond called him "an intelligent, quiet leader".

    He is the second NHL player from Utah.

    Had he not signed with the Kings, he would have attended the University of Michigan.

Get To Know The Los Angeles Kings: Scott Parse

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Scott Parse was born Sep. 5, 1984 in Portage, Mich. to Bill and Judy Parse.

    Prior to entering the ranks of professional hockey, he played four seasons at the University of Nebraska- Omaha, where he majored in business.

    While in college, he listed his favorite hobbies as playing golf and ping pong and sleeping.

    His favorite movie is Sandlot. His favorite sport other than hockey is baseball.

    Growing up, he was a Red Wings fan.

    His most cherished moment of youth hockey was when he scored his first ever goal at the age of five.

    Parse took part in teammate Davis Drewiske's youth hockey tournament to benefit the Huntington's Disease Society of America.

Get To Know The Los Angeles Kings: Alexei Ponikarovsky

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Oleksiy Volodymyrovch "Alexei" Ponikarovsky was born April 9, 1980 in Kiev, Ukraine.

    He became a Canadian citizen in a ceremony at Etobicoke, Ontario on June 7, 2007, along with 52 other people.

    The man nicknamed "Pony" lives in Toronto during the offseason with his wife Inna and their three children. The oldest is daughter Jessica, 7, but they also have two sons, Alexander, 5, and Maxim, 1. Ponikarovsky tries to spend as much of his free time as possible with his kids.

    He tries to help the environment by recycling.

    If he did not play hockey for a living, he likely would be a contractor.

    The first sport he loved was soccer.

    A few of Ponikarovsky's favorites, by category, are as follows:

    • Actor: Jim Carrey
    • Movie: Braveheart
    • TV Show: Seinfeld
    • Place to go on vacation: Miami
    • Magazine: Sports Illustrated
    • Road city: Montreal
    • Road arena: Bell Centre
    • Non-hockey sport: Soccer
    • Moment of career: Playing in the 2004 Eastern Conference Semifinals
    • Band: Metallica
    • Hobby: Fishing
    • Athlete: Roger Federer
    • Hockey player (as a child): Pavel Bure
    • Food: Steak

    He has done work for a variety of charities, including the Easter Seals Society, which aims to help the disabled.

Get To Know The Los Angeles Kings: Brad Richardson

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Brad Richardson was born Feb. 4, 1985 in Belleville, Ontario, Canada. He returns to Belleville during the summers.

    His nickname is "Richie."

    For his first job, he was a pool boy.

    If he did not play hockey, he would still want to be an athlete, instead being a golfer.

    He loves to learn and participate in water sports, particularly boating. He also enjoys reading any sort of music biography.

    Superstition causes him to always put his left skate on first.

    He has never worn a number other than 15.

    He recycles to help the environment. Also, Richardson is a supporter of the Children's Aid Society Belleville.

    His favorites include:

    • Place to go on vacation: Anywhere warm
    • Movie: Dumb and Dumber
    • Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio
    • TV Show: Curb Your Enthusiasm
    • Athlete: Tiger Woods
    • Hockey player growing up: Wayne Gretzky
    • Holiday: Christmas
    • Singer: George Strait
    • Road arena: Xcel Energy Center
    • Road city: New York
    • Hockey moment: Playing in his first NHL game
    • Food: sushi

    While playing for the Avalanche, he said if he could play golf with any three people in the world, he would choose Tiger Woods, George Bush, and Mike Tyson.

Get To Know The Los Angeles Kings: Wayne Simmonds

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Wayne Simmonds was born Aug. 26, 1988 in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, where he still lives during the offseason. He has two older brothers and one younger.

    "My parents, Wanda and Cyril, are honest, hard-working, salt-of-the-earth type people, who instilled a strong work ethic in me while I was growing up. I understood early that I would have to work for everything, twice as hard as the next guy. They're still on my back about how I have to work hard," said Simmonds.

    He is nicknamed "Simmer."

    His first job involved working in construction.

    He always puts his equipment on left-side first, due to superstition.

    If he was not a hockey player, his career of choice would be firefighter.

    Simmonds is a big fan of Jarome Iginla. He grew up liking the Detroit Red Wings. He has been friends with Chris Stewart since childhood.

    Like many of his teammates, he recycles to help the environment.

    He loves beach volleyball.

    Some of Simmonds's favorites are:

    • Actor: Denzel Washington
    • Movie: American Gangster
    • TV show: Family Guy
    • Vacation destination: Cancun
    • Holiday: Christmas
    • Book: To Kill a Mockingbird
    • Other Sport: Basketball
    • Athlete: Dwayne Wade
    • Hockey moment: Making it to the NHL
    • Musical act: Lil Wayne
    • Food: Lasagna
    • Hockey player (when he was growing up): Sergei Fedorov
    • Road arena: Pengrowth Saddledome

Get To Know The Los Angeles Kings: Ryan Smyth

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Ryan Alexander Gordon Smyth was born on Feb. 21, 1976 in Banff, Alberta, Canada.

    He lives in Blind Bay, British Columbia outside of hockey season, along with his wife, Stacey, their three kids, and two dogs. The children are Isabella May, 7, Elizabeth Ann (born 4/4/05), and Alexander (born 6/6/08). The dogs are a yellow Labrador retriever named Beaker,11, and Gundi, a four-year-old German Shepherd.

    He is also known as "Captain Canada" and "Smytty."

    He hosted a sled hockey clinic, along with then Colorado teammate Scott Hannan, in working with the National Sports Center for the Disabled in 2007. Other charities he supports include Compassion International, Show Hope, and the Stollery Children's Hospital. He aids the environmental cause by recycling.

    For his first job, he worked at McDonald's. If he did not play hockey, he would want to make a living by being a golfer or skier.

    He wears No. 94 because he graduated from high school and was drafted into the NHL in 1994.

    His favorite things include:

    • Other sport: golf
    • Road city: Edmonton
    • Road arena: Madison Square Garden
    • Food: Chicken Parmesan
    • Book: The Shack
    • Hockey moment: Winning gold in the 2002 Winter Olympics
    • Band: Nickelback
    • Actor: Vince Vaughn
    • Movie: Rounders
    • TV show: The Late Show with David Letterman
    • Hockey player growing up: Wayne Gretzky
    • Holiday: Christmas
    • Vacation spot: Bermuda
    • Athlete: Tiger Woods

    Kings wear mullets to honor Smyth (Video)

Get To Know The Los Angeles Kings: Jarret Stoll

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Jarret Stoll was born Jun. 24, 1982 in Melville, Saskatchewan, Canada. He lives in the L.A. area throughout the year.

    "Stolly's" favorite things include:

    • Book: It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life by Lance Armstrong
    • TV show: Seinfeld
    • Movie: The Shawshank Redemption
    • Actor: Samuel L. Jackson
    • Athlete: Tiger Woods
    • Road arena: GM Place
    • Road city: New York
    • Band: Linkin Park
    • Cuisine: Italian
    • Place to go on vacation: Bora Bora
    • Hockey player as a child: Steve Yzerman
    • Non-hockey sport: Golf
    • Personal hockey moment: Playing in the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals

    Before every game, his routine includes a particular pregame meal and a game day nap.

    His grandfather picked his jersey number (28) because he was born in 1928 and Jarret was born in 1982.

    He started the Jarret Stoll Celebrity Golf Classic to raise money for the Endowment Fund for children at the Royal University Hospital. Held in Saskatoon, it has raised $750,000 over the past five years.

    Stoll helps the environment by never littering.

    He was previously engaged to supermodel Rachel Hunter but called off the wedding.

Get To Know The Los Angeles Kings: Marco Sturm

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    The Kings recently acquired Sturm, in a trade, from Boston.Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Marco Johann Sturm was born Sep. 8, 1978 in Dingolfing, Germany.

    He is married and a father of two. His wife is named Astrid. They have a daughter named Kaydie and a son named Mason Joseph.

    Prior to the 1996 draft, he took boxing lessons to toughen himself up, fearing his size and nationality would get him labeled "soft." Around the same time, he also had the wife of one of his coaches in Germany teach him English.

    He ended up becoming the first German-born player selected in the first round. The man who drafted him was none other than Kings GM Dean Lombardi, then holding the position with San Jose.

    Read "Sturm's Road to the Kings."

    In regards to Sturm being traded, Dennis Seidenberg, teammates with him in Boston, told NESN,

    "From my perspective it's sad because we got along well and he's a great guy. On the team, everybody loves him, so it's tough that way....I've played with him on the [German] national team, so I've known him quite a while. our families got along well, so it's not just the hockey part, it's the personal part. For him, I think he's got a good chance in L.A., but for us it's just bad that we lose a guy like that."

    Fellow Bruin Marc Savard echoed the sentiments.

    "Yeah, he's a great man....we became great friends. He's a great hockey player, so we really could have used him. I'm sure he's going to help L.A."

    Shawn Thornton was full of well wishes for his former teammate.

    "He's a great teammate. I wish him all the best. Hopefully he goes to L.A. and has a ton of success and gets himself an extension and makes himself a home there. He's a great, great teammate. I can't say enough about him. In my three and a half years here, I don't know if I've met a better guy."

    Savard also told ESPN Boston:

    "He was a class act. He's going to get a great chance at a cup there and they're getting a great person and a great player in L.A. I wish him nothing but the best unless he's playing us."

    This September Sturm held the first Sturmy's Poker Party to benefit the patients at the Franciscan Hospital for Children. The charity event was to be held annually.

Get To Know The Los Angeles Kings: Kevin Westgarth

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    Kevin Reginald Westgarth was born Feb. 7, 1984 in Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada.

    He earned a degree in psychology from Princeton where he was Pre-Med. In his senior year, he penned a 61-page thesis titled Visualization and Sports: Bridging the Gap Between Neuroscience and the Methodology of Athletic Mental Imagery.

    He has said he chose his major in order "to find out more about what's wrong with me. And I'm only half-joking."

    Ducks enforcer and fellow Princeton graduate George Parros recruited Westgarth for the university.

    He enjoyed his time at Princeton.

    "It was an incredible four years and I'd never change that for anything."

    He also saw it as a testament to his dedication.

    "At Princeton, you're there for the education but also for the love of the game. There aren't scholarships. Maybe you get some financial help, but you're paying a huge chunk of that tuition. So you really have to be passionate about being there and doing whatever it takes to succeed."

    He was one of five former Princeton Tigers on an NHL roster at the start of the 2010-11 season.

    Two of his teammates at Princeton were his brother, Brett, and Darroll Powe of the Philadelphia Flyers.

    He was named Academic Player of the Year for the 2001-02 season as a member of the Chatham Jr. Maroons of the Western Ontario Junior Hockey League. He also won the Barry Wiseman Award "for excellence in scholastics and on-ice performance."

    The New Hampshire Union-Leader asked Westgarth, then a member of the Manchester Monarchs, about his activities away from the rink, and this is what he had to say:

    "Basically I'm like an old man. I'm a big nerd. I like to read. Lately crossword [puzzles] have been pretty hot. I finally got my guitar and piano down here. I like to play some musical instruments and rock out with the boys. That's always fun on the days we have off to relax. Not a lot of the guys play, but everybody loves a good sing-along."

    Westgarth plays the role of enforcer on the Kings.

    "I think for realsies that was the first one," he said after breaking his nose in a scrap.

    Westgarth has written a blog for The Hockey News. (Read it here.)

    "God, do I love hockey," he wrote in one entry.

    He ended half of his entries with "Three Books," a list of those books he had most recently read.

    He is engaged to Megan Cowher, daughter of former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher.

Get To Know The Los Angeles Kings: Justin Willams

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Justin Williams was born Oct. 4, 1981 in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.

    He lives in Ventnor, New Jersey during the offseason with his wife, Kelly, two-year-old son, Jaxon, and border collie named Prince.

    Kelly and Justin got married Aug. 12, 2006. Jaxon was born July 3, 2008.

    His first job was working as a fire watcher for welders.

    He does two things to help the environment: recycle and not litter.

    Williams is a supporter of various Multiple Sclerosis charities. In past summers, he has hosted an annual Justin Williams & Friends Northumberland Tire Charity Golf Classic. The money raised goes to aid the Northumberland Hospital.

    He credits his father as his biggest hockey influence. Jerry Toppazzini, who played for the Bruins in the 1950s, is his great uncle.

    Some of "Willy's" favorite things are:

    • Movie: Good Will Hunting
    • TV show: Jeopardy! and Seinfeld
    • Food: Chicken Kiev
    • Band: Counting Crows
    • Vacation destination: Bahamas
    • Hockey player growing up: Wayne Gretzky
    • Athlete: Roger Federer
    • Road arena: Bell Centre
    • Road city: Montreal
    • Actor: Robert DeNiro
    • Other sport: Golf
    • Magazine: Golf Digest
    • Offseason hobby: Golfing
    • Thing about being a professional athlete: The travel
    • Moment of career: Winning 2006 Stanley Cup (He considers his empty-netter in Game Seven the most memorable goal of his career.)

    He is a fan of the Coldplay song "Viva La Vida."

    He has said the celebrity he would most like to meet is Will Smith.

    Williams is fluent in French.

    He wore No. 11 when playing for Carolina because "it makes you look taller when you're on the ice and 14 was taken by Kevyn Adams." (He wears 14 with L.A.)