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Former Kings executive says Los Angeles is ‘not a hockey town’

Jun 15, 2013, 9:17 AM EDT

Tim Leiweke Getty Images

Current Maple Leafs executive Tim Leiweke isn’t doing much to make his old town feel good about hockey.

Leiweke spoke with Leafs TV (as the L.A. Times shares) about his time with the Los Angeles Kings and wasn’t too flattering about the city’s passion for hockey. While talking about the Leafs’ exciting season and run to the playoffs for the first time since 2004, he says he never saw the same kind of passion from fans in L.A. when it came to the Kings.

“We didn’t see that in L.A., and we won the Stanley Cup. We finally saw it at the end. It took us getting to the finals in order to awaken that town. It’s not a hockey town.”

Oddly enough, as Chris Foster of the L.A. Times noted, Leiweke called Kings fans the best in the league just a few years ago. I guess the only thing we’ve learned out of this is that executives are really good at pumping the tires of the fans of the team they’re running.

  1. 950003cups - Jun 15, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    Obviously you can’t compare Toronto to LA when it comes to hockey. That’s like comparing the Toronto Raptors fans to LA Lakers fans.

    • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jun 15, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      Who are the Toronto Raptors?!

    • Eric Geller - Jun 16, 2013 at 2:00 AM

      Los Angeles is a great sports town.

  2. girouxed - Jun 15, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Wow breaking news.

    Apparently people in California are worthless.

    • jimeejohnson - Jun 15, 2013 at 1:50 PM

      Keep thinking that and stay out! We’ve got more than enough east coasters out here. Stay away.

    • ron05342 - Jun 15, 2013 at 7:09 PM

      If people in California are worthless, what does that make people who live in Philadelphia?

  3. esracerx46 - Jun 15, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    I thought everybody already knew this??

  4. uscthom78 - Jun 15, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    The la fan base is either the fake Hollywood crowd or the gangster douchebag crowd. Beware if any of their sports teams make the finals. Win or lose they will burn the town to the ground. van and habs fans tame by comparison.

    • vrdjs - Jun 15, 2013 at 12:24 PM

      I’m fairly certain anyone who makes a comment like this has never been to an LA sporting event and has no clue as to the dedication and heart of the LA fan. I’ve been a Kings season ticket holder for 15 years. That’s 14 years of pain and one year of glory. Don’t tell me Kings fans don’t have heart. And in terms of burning the town to the ground. Let’s look at the last two years. Vancouver 2011? At least 140 people were reported as injured during the post cup riot, one critically; at least four people were stabbed, nine police officers were injured, and 101 people were arrested that night, with 16 further arrests following the event. LA wins the cup and NOTHING. Hmmm.

    • kingsoflosangeles - Jun 15, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      VRDJS you said it perfectly! Just another ignorant Canadian speaking before thinking. At the moment the Kings are the royalty of LA, Lakers are old, Dodgers are lost. They will win another title before them. I have been a Kings fan for 30 years and I will enjoy the good times, no need to label us a Hockey town.

    • ron05342 - Jun 15, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      uscthom78, you are the epitome of an absolute, ignorant moron.

      Do I really have to explain why? Yes, for the other absolute morons reading your tripe and nodding their knuckleheads in agreement. Apparently there are 16 of them at this writing for giving you thumbs up.

      Of course, its easy to label any fan base whatever you want. I can count on one hand the number of fake hollywood types or gangster types i see at a Kings game. I am a season ticket holder and I can tell you I see about 18,000 hockey fans every time I go to the game. That is 18,000 rabid hockey fans who really enjoy the game, and typically 18,000 hockey fans who really get behind the Kings and apparently motivate them to do well, as their recent 15-game home winning streak will attest to.

      So go back under the rock you came from, uscthom78. You are a lousy excuse for a human being.

    • brian m - Jun 17, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      Yeah, you should have seen how Kings fans went all Vancouver on downtown after we won the Cup

  5. therealjr - Jun 15, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    There are probably 3 or 4 hockey towns in the US. Everywhere else requires a decent on ice product and there’s no shame in that.

    • jimeejohnson - Jun 15, 2013 at 1:52 PM

      Very, very good point. Are those three or four towns named Detroit, Minneapolis, Boston, and Buffalo?

      • thesableo - Jun 15, 2013 at 3:00 PM

        Who the hell downvoted this? You could throw Chicago into the mix but otherwise that list looks good to me.
        NY and Pittsburgh fans…let’s not do this.

  6. brimab - Jun 15, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    Apparently he also called water wet and the sky blue as well. Of course this is a hockey blog so the other quotes went unreported.

  7. joeharkins - Jun 15, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    Sellouts come in all forms … Capacity Crowds … And former executives … Go Kings Go !!

  8. joeharkins - Jun 15, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Last time I checked, the Kings sold out every game … I guess you could say the same thing about their former executive — a complete sellout …

    • ron05342 - Jun 15, 2013 at 7:05 PM

      Agreed. They have sold out something like 65 in a row. I am a STH and I can’t even upgrade my seats. None are available.

      I am guessing that calling Kings fans “the most passionate and loyal fans in the NHL” and at the same time Los Angeles not being “a hockey town” are not entire congruent; however, as one fan pointed out, the JumboTron outside of Staples Center was NOT showing Kings playoff games when they were playing. All the while Tim LieWeasel was the executive here.

      So one has to wonder why…would LieWeasel have even tried to ban such free viewing in Toronto and be able to escape with his head? Perhaps Kings fan would have “blocked traffic” outside of Staples Center as well during the Stanley Cup Finals last season if he had televised game 6 in L.A. Live?

      Perhaps the LAPD would have frowned upon such a crowd in terms of riot control. Who really knows? I just know LieWeasel is a lying whore who will say anything in order to obtain his next trick.

  9. squidward247 - Jun 15, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    California has had four hockey teams in the history of the NHL, California Golden Seals, LA Kings, SJ Sharks and Anaheim Ducks. Four teams in 96 years, and only TWO have won the SC and one team won it twice (Anaheim) not a very hockey crazy state if you ask me.

    • squidward247 - Jun 15, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      D’OH!! Anaheim only one it once. It’s early, I need coffee.

      • ron05342 - Jun 15, 2013 at 7:06 PM

        Actually, you are a moron who more realistically needs a brain transplant. Skip the coffee.

    • Jackson Scofield - Jun 15, 2013 at 1:50 PM

      The number of Cups won determines how crazed the fans are about it? Guess Vancouver isn’t a hockey town either.

      • jimeejohnson - Jun 15, 2013 at 1:53 PM


  10. joeharkins - Jun 15, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Freeze your butt off !!

  11. jimeejohnson - Jun 15, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    So many Southern Californians are from cold weather climates, originally. They skated on frozen creeks and lakes and then decided to move to the southwest, where winter means rain. Most of those immigrants to SoCal were big hockey fans/players in their former homes and continue to support this great game. I would never live in Los Angeles because it’s too urban for me, but to claim that L.A. is not a hockey town is just plain wrong.

  12. qauzaq - Jun 15, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Wow Tim. I can safely say everyone in LA is glad you are gone. It’s nice to know you have dedication.

  13. joelwrobinson - Jun 15, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    As someone who lives in LA County, I have to say his comments are on point.

  14. alarese - Jun 15, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Reminds me of the old quote from the Kings’ original owner, Jack Kent Cooke. After struggling at the gate, Cooke had been told that there were more than three hundred thousand former Canadians living within a three-hour drive of Los Angeles, and remarked, “Now I know why they left Canada: They hate hockey!”

  15. jrichrod - Jun 15, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    Been a kings fan for 25 years. Here is the thing since Staples Center came into being, the REAL fans are being priced out of tickets. It’s all corporate and VIP down there in the lower section. Come on, you had to get a ticket to go to the Stanley Cup rally inside the building for goodness sakes (I made the parade), with first come to the vips and season ticket holders. The elitism post-winning the cup will come back to bite the team. I for one am sick of the LA Kings fans who care more about having autographs on their jerseys than the team on the ice. That being said, Tim is still Tim Liesweekly or Tim Lieweakly. Take your pick. Never have I seen someone with so little talent or regard move up the ladder like he did.

  16. olvera32066 - Jun 15, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    seems like a prime candidate for the d-bag’s, trump, show about apprentices……….

  17. ron05342 - Jun 15, 2013 at 7:20 PM

  18. ron05342 - Jun 15, 2013 at 7:46 PM

  19. aldog83 - Jun 15, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    We are thankful Leiwike helped bring The Cup and LA Live.

    However his comments are those of a scorned or dumped woman.

    This helps takes take away the sting of him getting kicked out of AEG.

    Chicken S**T pot shot by someone who WAS we’ll regarded and welcome in LA.

    Could have praised Toronto fans without dumping on Kings Fans.

  20. wranglerick - Jun 15, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    Ask marcel dionne if la is a hockey town.

  21. guyfawkes16051105 - Jun 17, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Lieweakly needs an excuse why he stunk it up forever before finding a real hockey guy to take over and turn the team into a winner. It was never anything Lieweakly did. By the way, brilliant job getting the local news stations and newspapers to cover hockey. Nice job getting them excited about and educating them. It’s not that you didn’t have hundreds of thousands of dedicated fans. No, it’s that the corporate fat cats are allowed to buy all the best seats then NOT SHOW UP, and no one ever got the media involved.

    It sure is interesting, though, that once it was apparent that you found yourself a real hockey guy and a winning culture was apparent, Staples has been sold out consistently (yes, BEFORE winning the cup.)

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