Voices Heard Or Opinions Herded?

Earlier today Hammond posted an interview with one Danny Zollars. Mr. Z is the new Director of Game Presentation and Events for the Kings. This position incorporates, well, a shit load, to use the scientific term. Z man oversees everything from throw-away giveaways, to Ice Girl laden watch parties, to the Disney-like laser light pregame show and all the music and advertising and hubbub in between.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you may remember I have sounded off, so to speak, on my opinion of many of the Kings’ sometimes inappropriately termed, ‘entertainment’. That first article pleading with the Kings’ brass to tune their strings more to the tone of oh, I don’t know, something hockey related, can be read here.

I’ve been contemplating another article on this subject for a while. So much of our pregame team inception parade rings childish and false. David Courtney’s iconic announcements have been dulled by fanfare that, from what I can tell, does not fare well with fans.

So here we are now, with a new man in charge of all these festivities. While I don’t know why the last man in Zollars’ position left, I do know it’s generally fair to assume if the Kings thought he was doing a bang-up job, the Kings would not have replaced him. I also think it’s fair to assume with new blood should come new entertainment. In Zollars’ interview, he seems to offer us the promise of new and exciting things for our Staples Center experience – although I will say that I find his claim that “for every 10 emails I get saying ‘We love metal. More Pantera!’ I get another 10 saying “Quit playing metal. Give us some country” to be leaning heavily on bullshit. Show me these people asking for Country Music at hockey games and I’ll show you people who were given tickets to go see some team their friends called the Royals, or the Knights, no, no, Kings, I think. Could you imagine Sarah McLachlan playing after a whistle while Clifford skates to the penalty box with blood on his face and fists? Me neither. Then again I don’t live in Orange County, which I’m willing to bet is where the vast majority of anyone clamoring for more country music resides. Bobby being an OC cretin himself can back me up on this assertion. Although I did see a cowboy walking down Vanowen blvd over the weekend. That was highly disturbing. Didn’t look like a Kings fan… Though I can see how when Penner has the puck and is being pursued by an opposing player that one may mistake the hockey game for a rodeo roping.

Speaking of people being out of place, Zollars comes from a background filled with basketball. You know, that sport with the 50 yard line and 7th inning stretch. I am not going to question his qualifications as someone who can appeal to fans of sports teams, but I do have to question how well someone who has no history of involvement in hockey is going to appeal to fans of a niche sport. The LA Kings fan is not your average Laker fan. In fact, it is kind of ironic, in an annoying sort of way, that when I have griped about the Kings entertainment in the past, I have specifically mentioned that it often feels like they are targeting Laker fans instead of hockey fans. While I know there is some crossover, for the most part I firmly believe a typical puck head is cut from a different cloth than your average dribble lover, or drooler, whatever you call them. Dunk buddies. Drunkards? Well, at least we all have something in common.

**UPDATE**

It was brought up to me by a reader that Zollars has had some previous hockey experience near the dawn of his career. Turns out my research (lol, ‘research’) was flawed when I said he had no hockey experience. I found this link, which besides gracing us with Danny’s toothful smile and semi-burly beard, tells us that Mr. Z worked his way up in the Phoenix Coyotes office for a while, before jumping over to work for the basketball team the Warriors. He went back to the Yotes almost a year later as a Game Operations Coordinator, before leaving 6 months later when the Warriors came crawling back for his services with a nice promotion. So Danny does have some experience in our sport… if we want to call working for the Coyotes relevant experience. Assuming that Danny has magic to work, the Coyotes, with their piss-poor attendance and near relocation-worthy lack of local support, prove that entertainment hoopla means next to nothing in terms of generating fan interest in hockey. Now, he wasn’t the Director for the Coyotes, and I’ve never been to a game in Phoenix, but I do know that I want to cut my own wrists whenever I hear that stupid howl after they score a goal. That being the extent of my knowledge of the Coyotes’ version of ‘entertainment’, I’ll stop there.

**END UPDATE**

Anywho, the fans who commented on Rich’s article a few days ago brought up most of the pertinent points, and Hammond did put forth to Zollars a fair cross-section of the general fan criticisms – though I will say that I’m still wondering why I am the one clamoring for a fucking clock in the hallway – yes I know they don’t want you to know that you only have 2 minutes to go get to your seat, they want you to miss 10 minutes of the period to get your nasty hot dog – so it will be interesting tomorrow night, and the 38 to come thereafter, to see if Danny Zollars is true to his words of revamping the game experience to reflect what we have specifically stated en masse that we want.

More South Park, lineup cards, no Lady Gaga, less cheesy video presentations and fewer run on sentences. Oh wait, that’s a criticism of me.

The benefit of the doubt hangs perilously from my lips, ready to be swallowed and shit out if I don’t see the changes I’ve wanted and we have now been promised.

All eyes on you Mr. Z. Are our voices heard or are our opinions herded? Do you offer promise or platitude. Either way, he’s asked to hear from us, so tweet your hearts out @LAKingsGameEnt.

Game on.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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32 replies

  1. Is Danny Zollars the guy’s real name? It seems terribly ironic that a marketing guy’s name rhymes with ‘Zanny Dollars.’

  2. The Vanishing of Heidi has left a spirit-draining gulf in the otherwise shallow furrows of my brain.

    I read as far as “Ice Girl laden watch parties” and could get no further. My mind just bounced off.

    So this guy Zollars is the new Supplier of Pussy and Watermelon for the Kings organization. Let’s hope he lives up to his lofty title.

    • I’m so very glad that Heidi’s gone. I get the reason why she was there. But, really? Could you at least get a hot girl that can put together a decent interview? There was one time that she interviewed Quickie after getting #1 star of the game in a shutout win. She asked if there was a specific goal that stood out. He looked at her with a strange look on his face and said, “All of them?”. That’s just one of the many times where I stood there and thought that she was giving female hockey fans a bad name.

  3. Zanny Dollars is EXACTLY the reason that I FREAKING HATE the Staples Center and about 2/3rds of the rest of the rinks AT ALL LEVELS of the game that I have to visit throughout each season.

    It is the plastic super fun time bullshit manufactured “fan experience” that has ruined a giant part of Hockey and all sports in my opinion. WE NEED MORE TEET TO SUCK NOW DAMNIT!! MNUH MNUH MNUH. FEED US!!! WE CAN’T GO A FUCKING SECOND WITHOUT ENTERTAINMENT WAAAAAAA!!!!!

    It is all bullshit. It is all a bunch of hype shit so the arena can slip in more marketing opps in the hopes that you will either be so stupid that you buy into it or so freaking out of your mind that you give in with the hope that it will just fucking stop.

    Lighting buzzing around at eye level, Huge signs flashing “MAKE SOME NOISE!!!!!!!!!!!” as if true fans who are watching the game need anyone to tell them to make some noise when something interesting happens.

    FUCK YOU Zanny Dollars and everything you represent.

    Great article guys

    • Pretty much, NS.

      Have hung my head and ENDURED on occasion. Not even the fucking office gets me to that spot.

      Basketball? Lakers? Fuck me. Like that AEG video that so entices UFAs.

    • You. Understand. Me. You. Complete. Me.

    • Northstar, you hit the nail on the head.

      While I certainly don’t hate or keep away from sports venues because they do this, I also don’t actively participate in the artificial fervor when the scoreboard tells us to. Music is fine, but for every single stoppage in play? Why do kids have such short attention spans these days? Because all entertainment in all aspects must be fast-paced and there cannot be any downtime.

      I’m all for removing mindless gimmicks (from all sports arenas) like “Make Some Noise” messages, Kiss Cams, useless Ball Races and the like. While we’re at it, execute Bailey the Lion. It was a sad day when I heard the Kings were adopting a mascot.

      • Bailey? Are you nuts? Are you trying to make my daughter cry? Bailey is mostly for the kids and I take no issue with that. He is actually quite entertaining and the young ones adore him.

        • Yeah, and Mascots are remnants of high school, so I’m OK with them. Some of the gimmicks are OK, like one kiss cam is fine, or one bubble vision. Having a handful of these things throughout a 2 1/2 hour event is OK, its the CONSTANT bombardment that is insufferable. I’d rather they do away with all the “Hey look at yourself dancing like an idiot on the big screen!”

        • He is actually quite entertaining and the young ones adore him.

          … Yeah, I agree. And besides, anyone named for Ace Bailey is cool in my book, because Ace Bailey owned.

          Also, Bailey beats the hell out of “Kingston” or whoever the Kings’ first mascot was.

    • Northstar —

      God didn’t create Mankind until after He populated the earth with the beasts of the field and pasture. This is true whether you believe in Darwin or Creationism.

      So even before there were hockey players and sis-boom-bah league organizers, there was already plenty of bull shit.

      I for one hate the Goddamn musical interludes between periods. But they’re infinitely better — or, at least, infinitely less noxious — than those imbecile puck-stacking contests that used to occupy the time during breaks at the Forum.

      No one can get everything he wants or dodge everything he hates.

      If Zollars can bring us some more Staples Sirens — perhaps with a bit less clothes — he will accomplish all I can hope or expect him to.

      Losing Heidi is a cruel blow. (Confidential to KingsGirl: It wasn’t really her interviewing skills that I liked to watch.)

      • Why? I go back too far but lets go back only so far as the forum. On the lightboards that went around the perimeter of the arena were scores from around the league and a couple of sports tickers/news boards.

        Sure the “jumbotron” had its animated crap but the kids did seem to like it so it was a fair concession. A mascot on board towards the end? Fine.

        But what happened more often due to the absence of all of the candy assed distractions were conversations about the actual game. People met people and had fun doing nothing more than talking about the team and catching up with each other or even just flat out partying in some sections.

        Bored? Do the forum 500 and maybe you will run into a player or a star or something. Get to know your arena your fellow fans and your team a little better.

        Change is constant and adding things to occupy the little kids (Bailey etc) is fine with me. Gives the adults better ops to watch the game and occupies the kids so they aren’t annoying anyone (not saying they do but some might sort of thing).

        The Bullshit that grinds my nads is like I said. FUCKING LIGHTNING GOING AROUND THE PERIMETER OF THE ARENA CONSTANTLY. A NEVER ENDING ONSLAUGHT OF NOISE AND LIGHTING FOR THE SAKE OF ITS OWN AGGRANDIZEMENT. INSTRUCTING THE FANS ON HOW AND WHEN TO FUCKING ACT, EVER!
        VAPID KNOW NOTHING FISH LIPPED PLASTIC BOOBED YABO’S YAMMERING ON ABOUT SOME LESSER ASPECT OF THE GAME LIKE THEY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT BEING BLARED AT YOU ON THE MONSTERVISION MESS CONSTANTLY.

        To me it is all too fucking much. I go to around 5o NHL games per year and about another 70 minor league games too and to be honest with you the only REAL hockey games where the fans are dialed in and for the most part hockey aware are in the league’s/regions where they either chose not or can’t afford all of the bullshit trappings that every arena in the NHL has adapted.

        I see it as a case of the emperors new clothes in that everyone has gone along with what the other guy has done until we have the pablum laden nonsense that is shoved down our throats today.

        Let “Zanny Dollars” fuck himself and drag every last bit of his bullshit tinsel bag of tricks with him.

        The game will suddenly become all that we need again. No $9 bigmacs or sushi at a fucking hockey game. No screw cams because in ten years that is what we will have, cams that bubble/morph into making it look like anyone sitting next to eachother are going at it. No more of the rapid fire assclowning that they use to keep you “hyped” or anything else.

        Give the game its due. It is the best game on earth and all that we really need to enjoy our time out. O.K., a cheap hot dog and a reasonably priced cup of good would be great too.

        Fuck the rest.

        • Fuck the kids. And, yeah, fuck the $9 Big Macs while you’re at it. And fuck the crazy-making light-show pizzazz, too.

          But the wimmin — that ain’t techno-shit. That’s the real deal. If Dollars can give us 50-GIRLS-50, with cute little nothing outfits, wiggling their asses with a bit of ta-rah-rah-BOOM-dee-ay, I think he’ll earn his money.

          The old intermission goodies — not just the puck-stacking mouseshit, but even the shoot-the-puck-up-the-duck’s-ass contest — sucked the life out of the period breaks. I half-believe they were created for the sole purpose of driving every fan out of the arena and into the beer lines.

          So I do sympathize with you. Despite the lameness of the half-time shows, there was a tightness, a sense of community, at the Forum that you don’t get at Staples. And the tinsel and glitter is tiresome to a point of madness.

          But you and I are like the Hebrew slaves that Moses led through the desert for forty years until we — and our slave memories — died off, to be replaced by a newer, mightier generation of Kings fans, fans who love all the tinsel, who don’t give a shit about that tight sense of community, who go for loud, deafening, shitty, rock music and super-expensive hamburgers, who think “Forum Gold” is just a cup of limp beer.

          All the same, I still say fuck the kids.

          • Love the reply but can’t agree on the kids. Gotta keep em coming especially you guys out in L.A.

            Next generation and all. Maybe a lounge for the strippers your talking about? Where the old MacDonalds used to be?

            Old MickeyD’s had a farm ee yi ee yi oh!

            I like it best when they let the mites play in between periods. Good for hockey and everyone else.

            On to the bigger flashier bullshit I guess.

            Go to a CHL or WHL game or two when you want to have a real “fan experience”.

  4. Wow, this guy really is in charge of a lot of things, too bad we can’t get that kind of focus on the power play. Did you see Florida’s power play tonight? They have gone from worst to best so far this year thanks to creativity. Creativity where it matters, on the ice when the clock is running.

    • Did you know the Kings are 6th in the NHL at 25%? With 2 GW PP goals in 4 games. Before last night Florida was at 23.5%.

      Florida had a monster game last night and the early stats will have huge swings early.

      • Yep, understand all that. I am referring to the way Florida ran their PP last night, incredible variety of formations and movement. I hope that Jack Johnson finding a spot down low for the 2 GWG’s is a sign that we are moving in that same direction.

        • I would feel confident Of that if both weren’t 4 on 3 powerplays. Our 5 on 5 doesn’t look That different and out 5 on 3 such far is the same stagnant bullshit. It confounds me endlessly how anyone who gets paid to coach can emphasise a 5 on3 Pp that involves people standing around and passing without moving.

  5. I had fun with the conversations. I don’t really know much about how to change those things, but gave some opinions on what I wouldn’t mind changing. Most other stuff, I admit to being totally clueless too.

    Being at Staples during a Kings game is the ultimate place for me, and would take Staples over anywhere, and I have been to some beautiful places in the world. I have only once not enjoyed imyself in my whole life, and that’s because I went with a guy who was just asking to get his ass kicked, and he was my ride home (seriously, the guy was drunk, and obnoxious, and some other fans actually took a swing at the guy).

  6. Hey marketing guy, I frighin hate what’s been done to hockey by marketing goofballs. I wish you had a set of speakers taped to your head that I could blast at full volume every time you wanted to talk or listen to someone.

    In my opinion the live hockey experience has been degraded. A good thing ruined. And this shit started during the last seasons at the Forum before the fan eating experience spread to Staples.

    Wanna see exactly what not to do? Visit the E Center in Salt Lake. You’ll puck. And guess what? That’s the logical extension of where your “fan experence

  7. I got some new information on Zollars background in hockey, so I added an update to the appropriate section of the article above (the middle… it will be the section that follows the word “UPDATE”, oddly enough).

  8. My problem with your article….I live in Orange County and have NEVER and I repeat NEVER liked country music in my life….barf, barf, barf, barf. Crap now I have to get a new trash can…..

    signed me…the headbanger since way back in junior high…always will be. Because I grew up in the Inland Empire so you know about us! :)

    ps: I believe that is part of the team problems skating to warm up with bad music.

    • I have lived in OC most of my adult life and in my younger adult days, my friends and I used to go bull riding every weekend…yes, the real bulls – the big, ugly, mean kind. We did this for several years before, to my chagrin, I had to start growing up. So, there are more than a few freaks in Orange County after all and country music is very popular in OC. Personally, give me classical and jazz and I am content but I admit my taste in most things is different than many.

      • and now coming out of the chute on Thunder is Bobby Scribe playing Chopin on his Stradivarius…different is good!

      • Classical musics for sissy’s! lol

        I spent most of my life in Orange, and spent my high school years there. None of my friends liked country, and it even pissed them off to hear someone listening to it in a passing car. Of course this was back when no one new what metal was, and it just exploded during those years and dominated what kids were into (still remember staying up to listen to the mighty metal hour on KMET, before KNAC was started).

        Love the Metal.

        • KOLA…all metal…on AM even….way back when…before a lot of the current King players were even born! Hee Hee…

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