SAN JOSE -- It’s no stretch to say Kings captain Dustin Brown will be the player most affected on a personal level by the departure of AEG Chief Executive Tim Leiweke.
Brown’s name was in play shortly before the trade deadline last season, creating more than a few anxious moments for his family. The Kings captain told The Times last season that Leiweke stepped in and told Brown’s wife, Nicole, that he was not being traded.
“I think it was a real possibility,” Brown said after Thursday’s morning skate. “Whether or not it was going to happen, [he] stopped it before it became closer to a deal.
“Last year, who knows what was going on? But it’s part of the business. If Tim wasn’t here, there probably would have been a greater possibility of something happening.”
Earlier, Brown spoke about Leiweke’s relationship with the Kings’ players and the organization. On Thursday, billionaire Phil Anschutz released a statement saying the planned sale of his company, AEG, was off and Leiweke would be moving on by “mutual agreement.”
Brown, now 28, recalled meeting Leiweke when the player first got to Los Angeles. Brown was drafted in 2003 in the first round and played 31 games for the Kings in the 2003-04 season.
“I knew him really well off the ice,” Brown said. “We’ve been through a lot…. AEG is humongous. He was very adamant and very passionate about the Kings and everything that was what this organization was about.
“I’ve been here for 10 years, and he was here in the beginning when we weren’t very good. And he understands what that is like from his perspective. Also from a players’ perspective, we’ve finally gotten to a place where as an organization, a playoff team, we won a Cup, and I think a lot of the last five, six years was a result of Tim and obviously him bringing on [GM] Dean [Lombardi].
It was an especially sweet moment for the longest-serving King when he shared a personal moment with Leiweke after the Stanley Cup-clinching game against New Jersey in June.
“I just remember getting a big bear hug from Tim,” Brown said. “That was the one thing I remember with Tim. We’ve had conversations throughout my career. But I think it goes back. If you look at the team we had last year, I was the one guy from the start of it all, that one team… I think he understood how special it was for me to do what we did as a team last year, to go through all the growing pains, and he was there for all of that and understood what I kind had to go through.
“He’s always had my back."