The Watch Party Experience (Los Angeles Kings and Hooters)

This video is relevant, I promise.  (What do you care, anyway?)

This season, I’ve had the pleasure of going to several of the Kings/Hooters watch parties.  Since most of us obviously can’t go to the away games, this is the next best thing.  In fact, in some ways I prefer it.

Here are the top reasons (in no particular order) to go to the watch parties sponsored by Hooters:
1.) Kings’ Care
2.) The LA Kings Ice Crew
3.) Bailey
4.) Jay Flats
5.)  It’s Hooters.  ’Nuff said.
6.)  Fellow Kings’ fans

Kings’ Care

Kings’ Care is the main foundation that the Kings support.  Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/KingsCareFoundation
Each watch party, the Ice Crew gals run around and flash some smiles to convince you to buy some raffle tickets.  I’ve probably bought more than I should have (damn you, Gabby!), but knowing that they are going straight to kids helps salve the wound my wallet suffers.  One night, Jay announced that we raised $700 for the Kings’ Care foundation… in one night.  That goes farther than you might think.  If you win the raffle, you can win some pretty cool prizes.  Over the course of the last three watch parties I attended, I won a Mike Richards signed puck, a Luc Robitaille signed Lucky Strikes bowling pin, a replica Stanley Cup ring, 4 shirts, the Ice Crew calendar (see, told you the video was relevant) which Gabby and Ashley signed, a Hooters calendar, and a few other trinkets.  They also give away signed team jerseys and sticks.  At a couple of parties that I missed, they gave away replica Stanley Cups.  I’m thoroughly convinced that Ashley or Gabby need to always draw the raffle tickets, I tend to win when they pull them.  Regardless, the money I cough up at these events helps out a kid that otherwise might not get help.  When I can combine my beloved team and helping kids, I’m in.

Watch Party Winnings

LA Kings Ice Crew

If I need to explain why this is a great reason to go, rewatch the video above.  Sure, the gals are gorgeous.  Besides that, they truly enjoy what they do.  They’re running around, laughing, joking, talking to everyone, snapping pictures left and right.  You would think that being around a bunch of testosterone laden men (seeing as this event combines mead from Mount Olympus, lovely ladies, and the best sporting event on Earth) would get old, but either they fake it very well or they truly enjoy it.  I’m banking on the latter.  At one of the Santa Monica watch parties, Carrlyn had JUST found out that day that she had a pretty serious back injury.  Normal people would have called out, stayed at home, or appeared sullen.  Carrlyn was snapping pictures, enjoying herself, and cavorting with the best of them.  I’ve run into Gabby at several of these events, and I’m surprised if she doesn’t go home with cramps in her cheeks.  She’s grinning and smiling the entire night.  Ashley was also at one of the Santa Monica nights, and she was a good luck charm for me… pulled my raffle tickets multiple times that night.  Also a sweetheart.  When you see the girls shoveling the ice or working the crowd a bit at games, they have to have their “game faces” on.  At these events, they let their hair down a bit and seem to just enjoy the atmosphere and festive mood.  That’s not to say they don’t enjoy skating around in front of 18,000 people, but it’s obvious they love the small atmosphere of the watch party as well.  (left to right- Eileen, Gabby, Myself, Jessica)  Quick shout out for my own sake… Gabby, you rock.  Say hi to Mason for me, and give him a dose of Pepto.  Jessica, whatever revenge you have cooked up due to my gaffe, be gentle.  I’m a sensitive soul.

The Ladies

Bailey

When you hear people say “the hardest working mascot in the NHL,” they aren’t kidding.  Bailey runs around before the watch parties doing birthday parties and championship deliveries.  He makes sure to chirp across the league and keep his paw on the pulse of our beloved sport.  Somehow, in between all of this, he keeps his mane looking solid.  Upon arrival at the watch parties, the fans break out into an uproar.  While the good folks at LetsGoKings.com go back and forth about Bailey, it can’t be denied that he’s a pretty big part of our team.  At one of the events, there was a small child in Kings apparel who was  bit cranky.  I can understand that, there’s nights I don’t want to go out where I will be assaulted with loud noises that I don’t understand.  I imagine the entire LA Kings organization feels this way when Penner gets to choose the music.  Bailey ran in, grabbed a roll of Hooters papertowels/napkins, threw them all around the room, all to get the kid cheered up.  Not only will this be somewhat memorable for the kid (he may be too young to be forming those types of distinct memories) but it allows the parents to truly enjoy their evening.  Anyone who can step in and lighten the load of a parent is a hero in my book.

Fear the Chicken

Jay Flats

Jay also lets his hair down at the Watch Parties.  At the last Santa Monica party, he was there in true beach boy fashion.  T Shirt, shorts, and sandals were his uniform of choice for the night.  I can respect that, and it’s nice to see the folks that work hard for us several nights a week enjoying themselves and relaxing.  He emcee’s the events, and does a great job.  People tend to criticize emcees/hype men, and they’re an underrated breed.  It is very easy for this character to accidentally overpower the evening and make it about himself, and Jay does a great job of ensuring that doesn’t happen.  He times the raffles well.  He gets the crowd ramped up at the appropriate times as well as staying silent at the appropriate times.  Timing is everything for an emcee/hype man, and Jay is up there with the best of those I’ve witnessed.

Hooters

Take a little trip down imagination lane with me for a moment.  You’re getting very sleepy…. *poof*  Now, you’re a waitress.  Not only are you a waitress, which is a rough job on it’s own, but you’re wearing the “fun” clothing Hooters’ girls wear.  Now, you make a living off of your tips.  Insert into this equation an event where people will be sitting at the same table for upwards of three hours, ordering very little.  I know that I’d have a hard time keeping a smile on and providing a fun experience to the customers, but Hooters nails it.  I’ve yet to have one of the gals show a sign of exasperation, frustration, or impatience.  I’m going out on a limb here and making a statement that no self respecting Kings fan who wants to have these parties at Hooters next year would dare to be a bad tipper in this situation.  (Cough, cough)  Each night, they’ve been happy, smiling, fast and accurate.  I can’t ask for a better environment to watch the game in (besides the Staples Center, of course.)

The Fans

Have you been to the Staples Center before?  If so, imagine the feeling of 18,000 hearts racing in unison.  Remember the roar of the crowd when one of our heroes pulls an amazing play out of thin air.  Now, convert this into a smaller room, and crank the energy up a few levels.  Have that picture in your head?  That’s a Hooters/LA Kings watch party.  The people here are just as passionate or more passionate than those I run into at TSC.  Since these are hosted during away games, this is definitely the next best thing to being at the game itself.  I can almost smell the ice.

There are two watch parties remaining in the regular season.  For the current schedule, click here.  If you haven’t been to one yet, stop slacking.  You’ll thank me later.

 

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