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Drinking it all in as Kings celebrate with Stanley Cup

Players and their families revel in the NHL victory with the trophy at the team's favorite bar, in Hermosa Beach. A bartender calls the festivities 'one of the most special moments of my life.'

June 13, 2012|By Sam Allen, Los Angeles Times
  • Jake, left, and Mason Brown, sons of Kings captain Dustin Brown, blow chocolate milk bubbles in the Stanley Cup in their Manhattan Beach backyard Tuesday morning. Earlier, the trophy was the center of a celebration at the North End Bar & Grill in Hermosa Beach.
Jake, left, and Mason Brown, sons of Kings captain Dustin Brown, blow chocolate…

It didn't take long for the Los Angeles Kings to take the Stanley Cup to their favorite bar.

Just hours after the team claimed its first-ever championship with a 6-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night, the celebration was on at the North End Bar & Grill in Hermosa Beach. Owner John Courts said the entire team, the players' families and some Kings employees gathered for a private celebration — and brought their trophy with them.

"The Stanley Cup was on the bar," Courts said. "To see it in the house, to touch it, it's just special…. I'm really speechless."

Nearly all of the Kings players live in the South Bay, and they train at a practice facility in El Segundo. The team has been hanging out at the North End since 2008, and locals say the players love to mingle with their neighbors, play in beach volleyball tournaments and help out with charity events.

Manhattan Beach Councilman Richard Montgomery said he was busy Tuesday trying to arrange an event at which residents could take pictures with the cup.

"Our city is going crazy," Montgomery said. "Our businesses, our downtown restaurants, our bars, everyone's happy for the Kings…. Now we get to enjoy it as a community."

Each player on the team will be given one day with the cup, during which he can do "more or less" whatever he wants with it, said Mike Altieri, the Kings' vice president of communications.

The trophy was in the possession of captain Dustin Brown after Monday's victory. Brown's wife shot a video of their two young sons drinking chocolate milk from the cup and blowing bubbles in it Tuesday morning.

Brown, who lives in Manhattan Beach, tweeted a picture of the cup with the caption "After 45yrs Stanley is finally home!!!"

The trophy was also scheduled to appear on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" and at Dodger Stadium this week before the Kings' championship parade downtown and Staples Center rally Thursday.

Courts said he had no idea the team would bring its victory celebration to his bar after the game until he got a call early Tuesday telling him the players were on their way.

In addition to the cup, Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick brought along the Conn Smythe trophy, which he was awarded as the playoffs' most valuable player.

Ron Ciulei, a North End bartender and longtime Kings fan, described the celebration as "one of the most special moments of my life."

"Not only have I been a fan for over 30 years, but I've gotten to become friends with these guys," Ciulei said.

Courts was full of praise for the Kings players too.

"Just tell the world this is a great group of guys," he said.

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