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Kings unveil championship banner as season finally opens

Los Angeles Kings players watch as their Stanley Cup championship banner is raised at the Staples Center before their NHL hockey game agains
Los Angeles Kings players watch as their Stanley Cup championship banner is raised at the Staples Center before their NHL hockey game agains

By Ben Everill

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles Kings fans waited 45 years for their first Stanley Cup so the 223-day wait from winning goal to unveiling their championship banner on Saturday was worth it.

After a long lockout delayed a new season that was scheduled to start in October, the Kings finally hit the ice prior to their opener against the Chicago Blackhawks to accept championship rings and unveil the banner before a full house at the Staples Center.

They paraded the Stanley Cup around the ice helping fans forget about the long void, then accepted the championship banner from Kings standouts Marcel Dionne and Rogie Vachon plus the Greene family from Sandy Hook, Connecticut, whose daughter Ana was a victim in the recent school shooting tragedy.

Los Angeles became the first team to win the Stanley Cup from the eighth seed in 2012, putting together a remarkable record equaling 16-4 record in the postseason.

Perhaps even more remarkable is the fact every player from the triumph has returned to try to do it again.

Conn Smythe Trophy winning goalie Jonathan Quick signed a 10-year extension, captain Dustin Brown, top scorer Anze Kopitar also return.

Even coach Darryl Sutter and general manager Dean Lombardi were rewarded with multiyear contract extensions on the eve of the opener.

"We get a little celebration," Quick said. "But you don't want to stay on the past for too long."

(Editing by Gene Cherry)

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