Outside Staples Center, home of the 2012 Stanley Cup champions, festivities began at 9:30 AM, with a variety of family-friendly activities, including outdoor ice skating, and autograph opportunities from Kings veterans. Just prior to the start of the game, the Stanley Cup was escorted through the massive crowd into the arena.
To begin the ceremony inside, a moment of silence was observed for the Kings' veteran public announcer David Courtney, who died last November.
A video tribute to last year's epic season then played on the arena's big screens, and players were introduced onto the ice individually where they were presented with their championship rings. The players enjoyed the jewelry, made by Tiffany Co., only for a short time however, since the rings were collected for distribution after the game.
With the players standing along the perimeter of the rink, the Stanley Cup was brought down onto the ice. Players passed around the Cup one final time as fans reveled in the memory of last year's hard-fought and unexpected championship run.
When the championship banner was finally brought out, the family of Ana Marquez-Greene, a 6-year-old girl killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School from Newtown, Connecticut, was honored as standard bearers. Kings veterans Marcel Dionne and Rogie Vachon were also bearers of the massive banner.
The banner was handed off to Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, and Matt Greene, who were joined by their teammates as they skated it to the hoists. And as the banner was raised up above the players, their legacy flew and waved, carrying with it the pride of the team, the 18,000 fans in attendance, and many more watching the telecast.
Having been elevated to euphoric levels from the opening ceremony, the fans by large did not seem to be too disappointed with the eventual 5 to 2 loss to the 2010 Stanley Cup winners. In fact, many did not expect the Kings to be at their best yet, with goaltender Jonathan Quick perhaps still affected by his minor back surgery after the last season, and Anze Kopitar and Willie Mitchell both out of the lineup with injuries.
If however, the Kings expect to successfully defend the Cup, they will have to regroup and bring back the level of focus that Head Coach Darryl Sutter famously honed the team into last year.
The Kings begin a three day road trip with a visit to Colorado on Tuesday.