The family of a child slain in Sandy Hook, Conn., helped the Los Angeles Kings unveil their first Stanley Cup banner as players received their championship rings Saturday at Staples Center, more than three months later than planned.
Unlike the championship banners of their co-tenant, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Kings' championship banner was hung from the rafters, instead of the wall. The change was made to leave room for additional banners, team Governor Tim Leiweke said last week.
The ceremony was preceded by a moment of silence in memory of David Courtney, who had been the team's public address announcer since 1989 and had gotten his start in sports in 1971. Courtney started in sports as a public relations assistant for the Kings when he was a 14-year-old Beverly Hills High School student.
Courtney died Nov. 29 at the age of 56.
The banners representing the Kings' Smythe Division championship in the 1990-91 season and Campbell Conference championship in the 1992-93 season and the retired jerseys of Marcel Dionne, Rogie Vachon, Dave Taylor, Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille are now hung next to the U.S. and Canadian flags, opposite their previous location next to the Lakers' championship banners.
The 17-minute ceremony before the season-opening 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks began with a video of the team's players, including pictures from when they were children.
The capacity crowd cheered every phase uttered by team announcer Bob Miller as he recounted the team's improbable run to the Stanley Cup, becoming the first eighth-seeded team to do so.
The players then, one by one, skated on to the ice to receive their rings from Nancy Anschutz, the wife of Philip Anschutz, who owns the Kings through his Anschutz Entertainment Group.
The players then skated to designated spots on the ice, where they got a brief chance to carry the Stanley Cup before handing it to a teammate.
Dionne, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and Vachon, the Kings' winningest goaltender, were joined by members of the Greene family from Sandy Hook, Conn., including their 8-year-old son, a youth hockey player, in presenting the banner to Kings captain Dustin Brown and assistant captain Matt Greene to take to be lifted to the rafters.
The Greene family, whose daughter was slain in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, were invited by the Kings to participate in the ceremony to honor the memory of their daughter and "pay tribute to families from all across America who watch hockey, play hockey and share experiences like today that bring joy and happiness into our lives," Miller said.
The championship ring, made by Tiffany & Co., includes 104 round brilliant pave set diamonds on its face. The Kings' crest sits atop the Stanley Cup and the text, "Stanley Cup Champions" is set around the bezel.
The ring's shanks celebrate the Kings' 2011-12 season. The team's crown and player name in raised letters appear on one shank. The Kings' team name, the NHL logo, 16-4, their record in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and 2012 appear on the other shank.
The ceremony had been scheduled for Oct. 12, but the NHL locked out its players Sept. 15 when it was unable to reach an agreement with the National Hockey League Players Association on a new collective bargaining agreement.
The two sides reached a tentative agreement on Jan. 6 and the lockout officially ended last Saturday, allowing the league to announce a shortened 48- game schedule, with play beginning today.