I hadn't planned on attending the NHL All-Star Game FanFair at the LA Convention Center, but I couldn't help myself. A major mid-season event was happening in my town, and I would be remiss if I didn't show up to take it all in. Besides, I was told that there would be a small card show, a little museum display and autographs... Free autographs. So I went, and I'm glad I did.
One of the keen displays were these large hockey pucks seen all around the Staples Center. They featured every All-Star in attendance this year. Naturally, I tracked down the two Kings players - Jeff Carter (left) and Drew Doughty.
As for the show itself, it is located in one of the large halls at the convention center. There is plenty of room and a ton of activities. You can shoot the puck, pretend to be a goalie and even show off your skills by dribbling with the puck. I, on the other hand, immediately raced to the autograph line. Kings legend and Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille would be there to sign for fans, so I dutifully waited my turn.
Queuing up is often a laborious necessity, but it soon became an entertaining jaunt when Montreal Canadians mascot Youppi! showed up. Being a Montreal native himself, Luc immediately greeted the furry mascot.
Unfortunately, I was only allowed one autograph, so I had him sign my old Kings jersey.
Then, I ended up not getting an autograph from the newest Kings Hall of Famer, Rogie Vachon. I won't go into details as to why. Suffice to say though, that I'm an idiot. Anyway, I had to get my own hockey card, courtesy of Upper Deck.
Below are a more photographs I took as I walked around the FanFair.
Above are two vintage Zamboni's. The red Zamboni on the right is the "Model A" - the very first one sold.
You could also get a look at all the different trophies given out by the NHL. On the above left is the Conn Smyth Trophy (Playoff MVP) and on the right is the Hart Memorial Trophy (League MVP). Below are the hands of Kings centerman Anze Kopitar.
Below is a scrimmage between Eastern and Western Conference mascots. They hit the ice for a game of broom-ball.
In the middle of the room are the below displays showing off California hockey. There were vintage uni's from teams long since gone, and plenty of Kings goodies to keep any fan happy.
The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto also had their own museum on-hand; including an interactive display show the Stanley Cup (below).
Here are a couple of vintage hockey mask. In the middle below is Jacques Plante's mask - the first goaltender to wear a mask in regulation play on a regular basis.
Here are more vintage uniforms.
I especially loved the New York Americans jersey.
On the bottom left are skates from goaltender George Vezina - namesake of the Vezina Trophy given after each season to the leagues best goalie. On its right is a game-used Wayne Gretzky Kings helmet.
And just to prove that I have much to learn about hockey history, below are the ambidextrous goalie gloves of Hall of Fame goaltender Bill Durnan. You heard that right. There was once a goalie, a really good one, who had gloves specially made so that he can interchange where he held his stick depending on whether the puck was on his right or left sides. Wow.
The FanFair continues this weekend until Saturday. Go here for more information. Scheduled to sign autographs today are a slew of Kings players - Nic Dowd, Andy Andreoff and Tanner Pearson. On Saturday Darryl Sittler, Denis Savard, Taylor Hall, Serge Savard, Yvan Cournoyer, Jarret Stoll and Rob Blake will sign for fans.
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