Any fan of the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings knows that there is bad blood between both hockey clubs and both fan bases. Their territories border each other, but there are fans of both teams in each respective county.
Every time the Ducks and Kings play during the regular season it is a big match up known as the Freeway Faceoff as both teams are a short 20 miles from each other on the freeway.
During the regular season this year, the Kings only took one win against the Ducks and that was in an overtime game with nine rounds in the shootout where only one puck went in on Jonas Hiller.
This rivalry puts relationships, friendships and families to the test as the proximity of each team’s home ice is so small compared to other NHL teams. This rivalry leads to arguments, fights and general disorder as each club’s fans vie to claim themselves as Southern California’s best hockey club.
For a historical perspective, the Ducks were established in 1993 as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim after Disney created the team to go along with their franchise movies The Mighty Ducks. Southern California at the time was in the midst of hockey fever as it hit a high note when “The Great One”, Wayne Gretzky arrived in Los Angeles to play for the Kings.
The Mighty Ducks were created to feed that urge of So-Cal hockey to those in Orange County who didn’t feel comfortable rooting for a team in Los Angeles.
At the time of the Ducks creation the Kings had already been in the league for 26 years. Since the moment of creation, Kings fans had nothing but spite for their neighbors in Orange county as they felt there was already a team in Southern California that should be liked and there was no need for another team, let alone a team controlled by Disney.
The Ducks and Kings played season after season as each team would get their chance at hockey’s most cherished prize, Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The Ducks may have had a soft family friendly appeal, but they put some of the biggest, toughest enforcers on the ice to establish their identity as a team to be reckoned with. While all this was going on in Anaheim, the Kings chose to go with speed and smart plays as their star Gretzky would battle to get California’s first cup.
Gretzky would leave, but the rivalry between both teams would remain. The Ducks would eventually get California’s first Stanley Cup only 14 years into the franchise. The Kings would eventually catch up some years later, 45 years into their club history.
The bitterness will remain until one of these rivals can close in on another cup making themselves the leader of California in Stanley Cup wins. Northern California rival the San Jose Sharks have no cup wins and although they have had chances in playoffs, by distance, they are not as relevant to this rivalry as Kings and Ducks.
These two teams are destined to play each other some time in the playoffs, if not this season perhaps next. This writer believes it should be sooner rather than later.
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