LA Kings victory parade, rally honors Stanley Cup champions
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Kings got the royal treatment at a victory parade and rally Thursday, as hockey fans turned out by the droves to celebrate the team's first-ever Stanley Cup win.
The parade kicked off in downtown Los Angeles at noon at the corner of Figueroa and Fifth streets and traveled south on Figueroa all the way to Staples Center.
Kings center Colin Fraser described the whole experience as "a whirlwind."
"It's crazy, but it's a lot of fun obviously," Fraser said. "You watch these things on TV all the time, and to be a part of it, it's awesome."
Thousands of fans cheered along the one-mile route, as the Kings players took turns lifting the Stanley Cup over their heads to show the masses.
"Everybody who's ever laced up a pair of skates just dreams of that moment, if they can lift that cup up above their head," Westgarth said. "It's everybody's childhood dream come true."
"Having that 35-pound piece of silver feels pretty unbelievable," he said.
As soon as the parade ended, city crews moved in quickly to clean up Figueroa and the surrounding streets. The LAPD says there were no reports of any major incidents or arrests. They estimated the crowd reached 250,000 people during the parade.
Following the parade, a "Championship Rally" began inside Staples Center at 2:30 p.m. as a capacity crowd cheered the team. Tickets for the rally sold out in one hour.
The rally was the team's way of saying thank you to fans and supporters.
"This was always about you. This is your day, you deserve this, thank you so much for your commitment and passion to the L.A. Kings. God bless our fans, you are the Stanley Cup champions," said Time Leiweke, the team's governor and AEG president.
One team member even alluded to fans that another win could be in store next year.
"You know what? It's too much fun not to win it again. Let's go get it," said Kings center Anze Kopitar.
On Wednesday, Kings players spent some time in a barber shop to groom their beards, which they grew out during the final games. Growing a "playoff beard" is a superstition for many hockey players: they grow it out until they lose in the playoffs, or go on to win the Stanley Cup.
After the haircuts, the players made their way to Dodger Stadium and they brought the Stanley Cup with them. They also threw out the first pitch of the game between the L.A. Dodgers and the Anaheim Angels. The Kings also posed for pictures with the baseball players.
los angeles kings, downtown, parade, nhl
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