Frozen Fury is the L.A. Kings annual preseason game in Las Vegas, NV. In my life, I've missed two, not including the cancelled ones because of lockouts. I was there for those, lockout or not. Frozen Fury is an experience for anyone, not just for L.A. Kings fans. It's been held at the MGM Arena every single year and the Kings opponents have almost always been the Colorado Avalanche. In it's infancy, the fan bases were pretty even, with Avs fans fighting to get tickets because they couldn't afford regular season games at home. After the Kings won their first Stanley Cup, and subsequent second Stanley Cup, the fan rivalry has become severely lop sided in the favor of Kings fans. Frozen Fury has always been a raucous, yet intimate affair.
Next year, that is going to change a bit. The game will be moving to the new Las Vegas Arena. The new arena is a $375 million project from AEG and MGM Resorts International. The arena is intended to help bring an N.H.L. expansion team to the city, as well as be home to all sorts of sporting and entertainment events. It will sport a state of the art facility with seating capacity for 20,000, a far cry from the 'great anywhere you sit' seats in the MGM Grand Garden Arena. This will undoubtedly change the feel of the experience of Frozen Fury. Hopefully, Kings fans will keep traditions going but I thought it would be fun to document the experience.
L.A. Kings fans and Vegas is just one big party. It's Vegas, right? Anyone can start a party anywhere in Vegas. But groups from fan sites and message boards(like letsgokings.com) always try and organize little get together's at various Vegas hot spots. My favorite has always been at Hofbrauhaus. It's not only a huge Kings celebration but it's also Oktoberfest. You'll get tons of beer, German food, polka, and of course, schnapps! This year's official Kings pre-party was at Tom's Urban, a newer restaurant closer to the arena. I didn't make it to the pre-party but made a stop by there before I left. Go if you get a chance. There is also a ton of Kings fans at various resort pools taking over, throwing around beers and blow up Stanley Cups. It's a good way to start game day.
Luc Robitaille Celebrity Poker Tournament
The last few years, Luc Robitaille and his wife Stacia have been putting on a charity poker tournament the day before the game. The proceeds of the tournament go to Echoes of Hope. I've never had the chance to play, but it's your chance to play with current and formers Kings players and other celebrities. Plus, there is a huge auction of Kings memorabilia. If you can't play, it's always fun to stop by and watch.
On game day, the MGM is crawling with Kings and Avs fans cheering and jeering each other to no end. Luckily, it's all in good fun. There are plenty of places to get your pre-game drinks going, but the Fat Tuesday lines seem to get longer every year. They even had ropes up this year to direct the lines. Octane 190 with the extra shot usually does the trick.
Before the game starts, a crowd gathers to form what has affectionately been dubbed, "The Gauntlet". The line for the MGM arena goes through the walkway between the shops and restaurants that are outside the arena. It's mostly Kings fans along the route, but pockets of Av fans can be found. Everyone who walks down the path has to endure the taunts or cheers of the drunken fans. More good fun. It seems the Gauntlet starts earlier every year. Broadcasters love to do interviews in The Gauntlet; Jim Fox seems to have the most fun with it. I can imagine this making a transition to the new arena in some form, it's just too fun.
The Game is always fun, even when the Kings lose. Sometimes it's too fun and you don't even remember the game. Every seat in the arena is a good one. You make all sorts of new friends, who you might see later in the night. Frozen Fury 17 saw the Kings dominate the Avalanche from start to finish, winning by a score of 4-0. Highlight of the game was Marian Gaborik scoring a goal from his knees from behind the net.
After the game, a ton of hockey fans let loose on the MGM casino and the rest of Vegas. This past year, I ran into a bunch of Canadians who weren't there for the game. Go figure, Vegas.
I'm not sure what Frozen Fury 18 will be like. I'm not even sure I'll be there. I hope the traditions live on with the move. What I will always remember is the camaraderie of the Kings fans, Avalanche fans, and just hockey fans in general. It's an event that has been grown by the transplanted hockey fans who take over Las Vegas, NV for one crazy fun weekend.
Music, Food, Hockey, and Society through the eyes of a misanthrope named Quez Def.