There haven’t been many things for Los Angeles Kings’ fans to celebrate during this post-season unless you include cheering when the Anaheim Ducks lose. With the team out of the play-offs, most fans have been spending time begrudgingly watching the remaining four NHL teams duke it out in the conference finals or trying to catch glimpses of Kings players in the recent International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships (A quick aside on the IIHF: forward Trevor Lewis helped the USA team win the Bronze while forward Tyler Toffoli, defenseman Jake Muzzin and goaltender Martin Jones assisted Canada in capturing the Gold with their contributions. Marion Gaborik played for Slovakia and Anze Kopitar assisted Team Slovenia, though neither made it to the medal rounds).
But in a year without contention for the Cup, the Kings and their fans have at least one reason to celebrate: Wednesday evening, May 20th, the Kings won the Sports Business Journal’s Sports Team of the Year Award. During the ceremony, held in New York, Luc Robitaille, President of Business Operations for the Kings, accepted the award which is given to teams that exhibit “excellence, growth, creativity, innovation, sound planning, implementation and outcomes” during the time period of March 1, 2014 to February 28, 2015. The Sports Business Journal awards are judged by a panel that includes editors, writers and researchers from SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily. Other organizations named finalists for the award were the Charlotte Hornets, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Cardinals, Team Penske and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The Sports Business Journal awards were launched in 2008 to “celebrate and recognize the leaders, visionaries and day-to-day practitioners who personify excellence in the business of sports”. In addition to their Sports Team of the Year win, the Kings also had two related nominations at the annual awards: Staples Center was nominated in the category of “Sports Facility of the Year” (Levi’s Stadium was the eventual winner) and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), owners of both the Kings and Galaxy, was nominated for the “Best in Property Consulting, Sales and Client Services” award (Learfield Sports was named the winner).
So while it’s not quite the same as watching their beloved team in the playoffs or seeing them hoist the Cup, the latest honor bestowed upon the Kings may help fans feel just a bit better as they wait anxiously for October and the new NHL season.