Just as the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement was ratified, the Los Angeles Kings hosted a special event at Staples Center last night. "Meet the Players," is the organization's annual autograph session, held exclusively for its season ticket holders. The free event lasted from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM, and not only were players available for autographs and photos, but the broadcast crew was also in attendance.
Players were grouped into three or four, and each group was scattered around the perimeter of the lower bowl of the arena. Fans were lined up and seated in those corresponding sections. Each fan was free to choose which group to line up for to begin the evening.
Staples Center also hosted free tours of the Kings' locker rooms, where the Stanley Cup was on display.
While Kings fans were waiting, NFL playoff games were televised on the jumbo trons, providing some level of entertainment. Additionally, each attendee received a voucher for a complimentary hot dog and soft drink. Naturally, Bailey the mascot, and the Ice Crew cheerleaders were on hand to elevate excitement. Despite these distractions however, many fans were disappointed and frustrated with the slow-moving lines.
Although fans were limited to one autograph and photo per player, many attendees spent the entire duration of the event in just one line, and most attendees who were able to make it to another line were so far back in the queue of the new line that they did not get a chance to meet the other players.
At the end of the evening, one attendee said that last year's event was far more efficient, but ultimately, she suggested that having multiple autograph sessions would be the only way to satisfy the increased number of season ticket holders.