LOS ANGELES — Dustin Brown admitted to being uncomfortable when Luc Robitaille first told him that the Los Angeles Kings were not only going to retire Brown’s number, but also immortalize him with a statue outside Crypto.com Arena.
As the ceremony got closer, the former longtime Kings captain was able to let it all sink in.
Brown not only had his No. 23 retired before Los Angeles’ game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but a statue of him holding up the Stanley Cup was unveiled before faceoff.
Brown joins Robitaille and Wayne Gretzky as former Kings to have statues outside the downtown LA arena.
“I’ll touch on what Luc told me, which made me feel better. Because I said `Luke, you’re you and I mean Wayne is Wayne.’ But he told me `You did something we never did’ and that made me immediately feel better about the whole situation,” Brown said during first intermission.
Brown played 18 seasons with the Kings before retiring at the end of last season. He holds the franchise record for games played (1,296). He was the 13th overall pick in the 2003 NHL draft and made his debut against Detroit on Oct. 9, 2003.
In 2007 he was named the youngest and first American-born captain in franchise history at 23 years old. He was the captain for eight seasons, including when the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and ’14.
“Throughout my 18 years, I experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. C or no C I always wanted to retire a King,” Brown said during the one-hour ceremony. “Seeing my jersey raised to the rafters, my only hope is that in the future when you look up and see it hanging there, you think not about my achievements but our achievements.”
Brown – who grew up in Ithaca, New York- is the seventh player in the franchise’s 55 seasons to have his number retired. He joins Rob Blake (No. 4), Marcel Dionne (No. 16), Dave Taylor (No. 18), Robitaille (No. 20), Rogie Vachon (No. 30) and Gretzky (No. 99).
Before the ceremony began, Brown led the current Kings team onto the ice, where they took their place on stage. The ceremony ended with Brown lifting the Stanley Cup in the same spot he did in 2012 when Los Angeles defeated the New Jersey Devils in six games for its first championship.
“Shortly after being drafted, Dustin said he wanted to be the first King to lift the Stanley Cup. Where else but LA could a script like that happen?” said Rob Scuderi, who played on the Kings with Brown for five seasons.
Brown is sixth in franchise history in goals (325), seventh in points (712), and eighth in assists (387).
“I don’t like the attention, but I’m proud of everything,” Brown said. “I got to share it with a lot of important people in my life, so that’s the main thing. It seemed to go smoothly from my perspective.”