In the immortal words of Wayne Campbell: Game On!
The NHL season will commence after a 113-day lockout. Reports indicate that the season will be at least 48 games and could start as soon as Jan. 19.
Don’t forget, you can listen to every Kings game on AM 1220 KHTS.
The big question is will the fans come back? Of course they will. They always do. It might take years for the NHL to attract the casual sports fan. But casual sports fans have never embraced hockey. It is a niche sport, in the same vein as beach volleyball or NHRA drag racing. It has a loyal fan base, but no mass appeal.
Hockey in Los Angeles showed some signs of life during the Stanley Cup playoffs last year. The Kings made an unlikely run as the eight seed out of the Western Conference to win their first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history.
Tickets for Stanley Cup Finals games were going for $500 for the cheapest seats and there were no empty seats at Staples Center for the series against the New Jersey Devils.
Let’s see if the Kings can sell out the delayed opening night, when the team can raise its one and only Stanley Cup championship banner.
It shouldn’t be a tough sell, but it will be a good indicator if the NHL and the Kings have a strong fan base in Los Angeles.
Now for some player updates. The Kings all-star forward Anze Kopitar injured his knee while playing for a team in Sweden, according to a report from ESPN. He is expected to be out three weeks.
Since the season probably won’t start for at least another two weeks, that might make for some good timing. But no team has much room for error, with less than 50 games of a regular season to jockey for playoff position.
More potentially bad news: Kings goalie Jonathan Quick is looking for medical clearance after having off-season back surgery. He is expected to be cleared, but recovering from back surgery can be a little tricky. Just ask Dwight Howard.
On the bright side, the NHL is coming back. The deal should keep the puck on the ice for another 10 years. The Kings have a team that should contend for another Stanley Cup. All in all, it’s a good time to be a hockey fan. Hug one if you find one.
Wonder who will have a statue outside Staples Center first: a Clipper or a Spark. The Sparks already have two retired numbers hanging in the rafters at Staples Center. The Clippers don’t even have a ribbon yet.
The UCLA and USC football teams ended their seasons with bowl losses. UCLA lost to Baylor in the Holiday Bowl. USC lost to Georgia Tech, the only team in a bowl game with a losing record, at the Sun Bowl.
UCLA lost three games in a row to end its season. Two of those came against Stanford, though.
The Trojans became the first team in NCAA history to be ranked as the preseason No. 1 team and lose six games.
Neither team gave their fans much to look forward to in 2013.
The Hart boys basketball team won its first 16 games of the season. The Indians are undefeated with three tournament championships, including its own Holiday Classic over the high school winter break.
It’s quite a streak, one shy of the franchise record 17-game winning streak the Clippers went on in December. It has people talking about the Campbell Hall team that went undefeated at 32-0 in 2005. Memories of the Glendale team that went 28-0 in 1985 are surfacing.
What people can’t remember is if any Hart team started 16-0. There have been some talented teams at Hart in the past, one that made the Southern Section finals eight years ago, but even that team had some losses in the regular season.
As good as the Hart boys have been playing, there are a couple other unbeaten teams in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The Saugus girls soccer team, ranked No. 3 in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 poll, ran its unbeaten streak to 15 games after winning the Los Tacos Tournament over host Flintridge Sacred Heart in Glendale.
The Saugus girls won the championship match, 5-4 on penalty kicks, after the two teams played to a 1-1 draw in regulation. The result of the game officially goes down as a tie, putting Saugus at 13-0-2.
The Master’s College women’s basketball team improved to 13-0 with a 96-62 win over Simpson on Saturday night.
The Lady Mustangs, ranked No. 13 in the NAIA, are off to their best start in school history.
The Master’s College women are getting production from all over the roster. Kimmie Iverson was the latest, scoring 18 points and making six 3-pointers off the bench to lead The Master’s College in scoring against Simpson. Six players scored in double figures for the Lady Mustangs.
The Hart boys and girls soccer teams made a sweep of the championships at their own Showcase Tournament before the end of 2012.
The Hart boys shut out Valencia, 1-0, in the championship match.
The Hart girls shut out Quartz Hill, 3-0, in the other championship match.
Both teams repeated as Hart Soccer Showcase Tournament champions.
Tim Haddock is the sports director at KHTS AM 1220. He also writes for the SCV Beacon, the Team USA website, Ventura County Star and SB Nation. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @thaddock.