My journalism career was launched at the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, where a brilliant sports editor named Bud Furillo taught us the business.
We were young, fresh out of college and eager. What a thrill it was to have a job where we’d go to baseball, football and basketball games , write about them and see our names in print.
Hockey wasn’t a big deal in LA then, and most of us ignored the sport. But Allan Malamud, probably the most talented writer among us, was the exception.
He was passionate about the Kings. As the years went by he became even more passionate.
He was overjoyed when the Kings acquired Rogie Vachon and Wayne Gretzky. We were scheduled to meet for lunch once and he brought along someone he wanted me to know and like – new Kings coach Bob Berry.
Malamud advanced to become sports editor of the Herald-Examiner and when the paper folded he was hired to write his popular Notes on a Scorecard column for the LA Times.
Malamud died in 1996 and was buried at Hillside Mortuary in Culver City, so he wasn’t here to see the Kings win their first Stanley Cup in 45 years Monday night.
Oh, how he would have enjoyed that evening.
As for the Kings, they survived crisis after crisis over the years, changing owners, general managers, coaches and plenty of players.
Once, when they weren’t winning and attendance was low, journalists wondered why they hadn’t caught on with the 100,000 former Canadians who now lived in Southern California. Owner Jack Kent Cooke offered an explanation.
“They must have left Canada because they hated hockey,” he reasoned.
The kids on our Herald-Examiner staff moved on to become fixtures in journalism, locally and nationally.
Steve Bisheff, a recent inductee into the USC sports Hall of Fame, became a columnist at the Orange County Register. Doug Krikorian and Bob Keisser progressed to the Long Beach Independent. Rich Levin moved to New York and became publicity director of major league baseball. Jim Perry was sports information at USC and worked for NFL Properties.
I suppose coach Darryl Sutter and the current Kings players haven’t heard of Malamud. But they should know about the inspiration he provided to his readers and anyone who was a Kings fan in those formative years.
This championship should be dedicated to LA hockey pioneers of that era and he should not be forgotten.