May 29, 2013, 1:14 PM EDT
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.
- One more time, with feeling: Flames stage yet another comeback, eliminate Vancouver 11
- Keith conquers: Blackhawks come back, eliminate Predators 36
- Red Wings smother Lightning, take 3-2 series lead 17
- Going the distance: Isles edge Caps to force Game 7 29
- WATCH LIVE: Today’s Stanley Cup playoff action 6
- Lucic issues statement on father’s passing 10
- Hall caught off guard by Oilers’ front office shuffle 18
- Wild’s Dubnyk shakes off six-goal night, saves 36 as Blues pushed to brink 34
- WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action 5
- Malkin: ‘I want to say sorry to fans, to my teammates’ 58
- Too little, too late: Rangers stifle Penguins for 2-1 series lead (114)
- It’s Done: Rangers eliminate Penguins in overtime (108)
- Bettman under fire after saying ‘Katy Perry’ chant wasn’t sexist (92)
- Okposo blasts ‘idiot’ Wilson after physical outing versus Isles (82)
- Preds, Forsberg finally solve Darling, push series to Game 6 (76)