New Kings' Alternate Jerseys Unveiled, Cheered, Then Disgraced

Reed KaufmanCorrespondent INovember 23, 2008

The following is a plea to any visiting fans attending the Colorado Avalanche vs the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, November 22nd at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

There are few things I love more than bringing hockey to Los Angeles.

I live in Los Angeles, and I play hockey. I own the Center Ice package on DirecTV. I participate in fantasy hockey.

I try to encourage casual fans to attend games and bring new fans when I can.

I constantly discuss why hockey is under appreciated in many facets in the United States.

After attending last night's Avalanche vs Kings game I've decided that while bringing hockey to L.A. is great, it's best to keep L.A. out of hockey.

Upon watching the Kings skate out for the final warm-up session just prior to the start of the game, the sell-out crowd at the Staples Center cheered in unanimous approval of the new Kings' "Third Alternate Black Retro-ish Jersey," with few adjectives to spare. This was the first night that these jerseys were available for the public to purchase, and by the end of the game, close to half of the capacity crowd was donning the new threads.

Though it's just a jersey and really does not indicate much else than a look, I had a moment in which I thought that the Kings' management had finally started turning the corner at bringing this franchise back to legitimacy in the eyes of the NHL.

Then, the first period ended, and I witnessed what was about to occur at center ice during the first intermission.

The Kings had given one new jersey each to 20 or so students from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising for them to recreate an original piece of "clothing" to display during the break in action. I remained in my seat for approximately eight seconds before I had to sprint to the drink stand in agony.

Photographs of this atrocity can be found here:  (FIDM to be a King)

but be warned, it is not for those with weak stomachs.

What a way to say to the fans, "Here are our beautiful new alternate jerseys, complete with sleek styling and an homage to the black and silver Gretzky days. Now watch 20 complete Hollywood stereotypes destroy them." One step forward, two steps backward.

I'm not even going to go into detail on the only possible thing that could have been more embarrassing in the second intermission, after a fan was given two chances to shoot a puck into an empty net; once from the blue line, and once from the CREASE. Yes, the crease, the blue painted half-circle that is adjacent to the goal line itself. He hit the post. I'm not kidding.

All I'm saying here is that if there were any fans in attendance that were visiting from other hockey markets, please don't judge all hockey fans in Los Angeles by what was on display last night.

Also, I've found that the most informed hockey fans in the Staples Center usually sit in the 300s (upper sections), as lately I've been fortunate enough to acquire tickets in the lower 100s, and I cringe sometimes at the comments/questions made by nearby fans as I'm desperately trying to convince whomever I'm with that many people in Los Angeles do understand hockey.

But I promise, we do exist.