NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was among the crowd of 18,593 that took in last night’s Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The Kings beat the San Jose Sharks, 2-1, to win the all-California series — and the experience was something to behold, according to the commissioner.
“To be here tonight and see the crowd, it all demonstrates that hockey is thriving in California. And that’s great to see,” Bettman told the Los Angeles Times. “If we were trying to be a little trite, we could say we’ve gone from the Golden Seals to a Golden Era.”
California’s third team, the Anaheim Ducks, fell to the Detroit Red Wings in the first round, also in seven games.
Both the Kings and Sharks played to full capacity during the lockout-shortened, 24-game regular season. The Ducks ranked 25th in attendance, averaging 15,887 per game.