LAKings Fan Story: To Slovenia and Back!
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06-08-2012, 02:50 AM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Originally Posted by
First, I just want to say that my family(4 boys, 2 girls, Mother and Father) are huge Kings fans. My Dad has been a fan of the team since the beginning in 1967 and is the reason why we are such an insane hockey family in Southern California. We all grew up playing ice hockey and my Dad played as a youth in Minnesota.
Also, I am not a big fan of self promotion, but I think that maybe the Kings or at least some Kings fans may be interested in hearing about an incredible story that I was lucky enough to be a part of....and I am hoping that in a couple of days the story will be even brighter!
I will just give a quick overview of what has happened to me over the last year and how it relates heavily to the Kings. Everything just happened the way it happened. I didn’t really have these intentions in my mind before leaving, aside from just thinking about how cool it would be to meet Kopitar in Slovenia. So, when these opportunities arose I had to take full advantage of them.
Last May, I took a trip to Europe which was originally only supposed to be a 3 month journey. I really had no plans, just visiting a bunch of friends I have all around Europe so, roaming around and trying to make the most of the time that I was there.
The main country that I wanted to visit was Slovenia, and Kopitar was the main reason why I even knew about the country(I googled this amazing place after the Kings drafted him in 2005).
Clip of me talking about Kopitar on a Slovenian Tv show, 1/4 parts:
After a month or so I sent out an email to Kopi's website saying that I am a huge Kings fan traveling in Europe and will be heading to Slovenia soon. They replied with a ton of recommended places to visit in Slovenia and then told me to let them know when I was actually in the country.
When I finally arrived in Slovenia, after traveling for 2 months, I sent them another message. They told me that Kopitar would be practicing with his father and a few other National players in Bled and to come down and watch. Kopitar gave me some time after and he signed a postcard for my Dad(it was my Dad's Birthday that same day)… “Happy Birthday Sam!” Kopitar was great and the whole experience was very cool. I also did a ton of other awesome things while in the country including spending 3 days in the Alps and climbing Slovenia's highest and most famous mountain, Mt Triglav, when I was there.
I ended up staying in Europe much longer than I had originally planned. I decided I was having too much fun over there so, I cancelled my original flight home and just kept going. Since I was still going to be there I had to see the Kings play while I was “down the street”. A once in a lifetime opportunity.
I made my way up to Hamburg, from Slovenia, for the pre-season game against the Freezers. I was lucky enough to meet Robitaille and Nicholls at a Kings practice and then enjoy the great atmosphere at the game the next day. Nothing like football style chants at a hockey game. Really cool!
Then, I headed up to Stockholm to see them open up the season against the Rangers. It was awesome. It was great being able to see my favorite team play an NHL game live and in person when I was 6,000+ miles away from home.
Six months passed and I continued wandering Europe. I would wake up at 3am, 4am, 4:30am, whenever I could to catch a live stream of the Kings. Many friends thought that I was crazy, but I just told them...."I love hockey and I love the Kings so, it doesn't seem so crazy to me".. I would wake up to watch full games and if I wasn't able to catch a stream I would watch the highlights online the next day. I was traveling around a beautiful place with so many things to see and do....and I did see and do a ton of things, but I always had hockey and the Kings on my mind.
It was great to be able to see the games and email back and forth with my Dad about what is happening with the Kings, but of course, the biggest thing was that I missed going to the games with him. Taking the Blue Line to DT L.A. and experiencing the joy and the pain live, with my father, was something that I could not recreate being so far from home. The bond that my Dad and I share through hockey is truly something special.
The Kings make the playoffs! I set my alarm for every playoff game. Friends continue to call me crazy and laugh.. I say..."Hey, this is important to me, it's important to my family. It may seem strange to you, but it's more than just a hockey game for me"... The Kings are rolling teams and I start thinking...
"I need to come home for this. I cannot be away from my Dad if the Kings finally seal the deal. I will cry forever if I am not with my Pops and they do what he's been waiting 45 years for them to do"
I booked my flight home without telling my family that I was coming. I was gone one year. May 28th, 2011 to May 27th, 2012..I thought "I will surprise my family, it will be amazing and I will enjoy these Cup Finals with my Father, family, and hopefully watch them do this thing!"
Surprising my parents..First thing my Dad says... "THE STANLEY CUP!":
Anyways, I have arrived, I've surprised my parents and the rest of my family after a year abroad and I have purchased tickets to Game 4 of the Cup Finals in Los Angeles where I will attend with my Father and one of my brothers.
Personally, I think it's a pretty crazy story and I am definitely happy how things have worked out so far. If the Kings do this, it will be an amazing book end to an incredible year...not just for hockey, but for my family and I.
Thank you so much for reading.
I hope that this was at least somewhat interesting and I would love for the Kings to know the types of dedicated fans that they have here in the Los Angeles area!!
Thanks again, and of course, Let's Go KINGS!!!
P.S. Sorry if it sounds like I am rambling..I am way too excited and I am also getting over a 24 stomach bug which has made me completely delirious.
Pictures: Kopi and I, My Dad and I playing on his 70th Bday(3 years ago), My Dad shredding on his 70th Bday(3 years ago)
Great story! Sounds like an amazing year you'll always remember.
My only question is what was Johnny Depp doing on a Slovenian talk show?
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