Culver City Observer -

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By Steven Lieberman
Observer Reporter 

The "The Hit Man" of hockey will have his number retired and a statue dedication after 18 years with the Kings

 

October 27, 2022

When former LA Kings captain, veteran, and right-winger, Dustin Brown, retired at the conclusion of the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, some fans were saying that it was a good decision. That “Father Time” had been been calling his name for several years and that he was significantly overpaid since 2016.

But sitting in the Crypto.com Arena for the opening two games of this season, there seemed to be a void, a sense of loss not seeing #23 out on the ice, a presence that was felt for all of his illustrious 18-year career, all as a King.

At the end of his career, the 37-year-old Brown finished with 1,296 regular-season games, 92 playoff games, and two Stanley Cup championships (2012, 2014) as captain of the team.

The fans will miss seeing “The Hit Man” up on the Jumbotron as the player with the best hit of the game, which he’s been known for since the beginning of his career. He was the poster-boy of the team for toughness and tenacity.

Nobody will forget when Brown was the first in line to shake hands during the postgame traditional handshake last season when the Kings lost to the Oilers in Game 7 of the first round. It wasn’t surprising that he did that since he was one of the faces of the franchise and wanted to go out with a touch of class and carry the lantern for all of his teammates, like he’s done for many years.

It’s very rare in the world of professional sports for a player to spend his entire career with one team.

So to honor this and his accomplishments, the Kings will retire his number and erect a statue during a ceremony on February 11 when they battle the Penguins at Crypto.com Arena.

Brown will become the seventh Kings player to see his number raised to the rafters, joining Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky, Marcel Dionne, Dave Taylor, Rogie Vachon, current GM Rob Blake and Kings president Luc Robitaille.

Brown’s statue will keep good company with Gretzky’s and Robitaille’s.

When Brown was interviewed, he said that he is honored, but is most proud of the two championship banners already hanging in the rafters.

And he is also proud that he created a winning attitude for the Kings after he was selected 13th overall in the 2003 NHL draft. At age 23, Brown became the youngest captain in team history and laid the foundation for success. One might also say that Crytpo.com Arena is ‘the house that Brown built” for Kings hockey.

But now he’s building a life with his wife and four kids in retirement, getting much needed rest and relaxation, while his former team is now 3-2-0, roaring back from losing the first two games and enjoying a three-game win streak.

 

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