You know someone is a serious hockey fan when they change their name to Five For Fighting.
“Back in the late ’90s, the record label came to me and said: ‘You know, John, nobody can pronounce Ondrasik, the days of the male singer/songwriter are over, you need a band name.’” Ondrasik recalled. “I had just come from a Kings game and Marty McSorley and the late, great Bob Probert had done their dance, and in a sarcastic moment I said: ‘Well, how about Five For Fighting?’ And they said: ‘We love it!’ I said: ‘You’re crazy . . . nobody will understand it, there ain’t five guys, it sounds like a heavy-metal band.’ [...] I probably wouldn’t be talking to you, Stu, if the name was John Ondrasik.”
[...] The 47-year-old grew up in Los Angeles and just might be the world’s biggest Kings fan. “Believe it or not, I was going to Kings games before Gretz came,” Ondrasik said [...]. Gretzky is now one of Ondrasik’s neighbours and their sons used to play on the same lacrosse team.
[...] “I have scattered memories of Dave Tiger Williams and Luc (Robitaille) and Jimmy Carson as rookies. I was very fortunate my parents back in the old Forum days had what they called Senate seats, where you got Lakers tickets and Kings tickets and concerts. [...]”
And now the musician and longtime season-ticket holder is sharing his thoughts about the team by writing a column for the Kings website. “I’ve become friends with (Kings president) Luc Robitaille since I played at his retirement ceremony [...]. Luc [...] asked me to do a monthly column [...],” Ondrasik said. “I told Luc going in: ‘I may say some things you don’t like.’
“My goal is to present the fans’ perspective, which means when we’re excited we’re overly excited and overly optimistic, and when we’re angry we’re probably too depressed, pessimistic and maybe not rational. [...] I just try to come from the heart and tell it how I see it, and I think that provides a different perspective than [others] who actually get paid and have the journalistic integrity that I don’t have to measure up to,” Ondrasik said with a laugh.
He added: “I’m so pleasantly shocked, that I’ve postponed my mid-life crisis” and “Whacking the Canuckleheads in five is the greatest Kings moment since the cup run of 1993.”
“I was sitting behind the Kings goal in ’93 with the famous Patrick Roy wink on Tomas Sandstrom [...], which to this day still hurts,” Ondrasik said with a sigh. “The curved (illegal) stick (of McSorley). We’re hoping to exercise all those demons from the Montreal series in the next two weeks. [...] L.A. has a very hard-core hockey base, but it’s relatively small. Three weeks ago, half of Los Angeles still thought Wayne Gretzky played for the L.A. Kings.
That’s a good one.
“I would take a Stanley Cup now over five more Lakers championships. We’ve been spoiled with the Lakers . . . I’ve been at Game 7s, I’ve experienced (NBA) championships, but for me to see the Kings win a Stanley Cup for once in my lifetime would be the greatest thing . . . then life doesn’t really matter,” he added with a laugh. “It would be the best, and I think for L.A. it would be fantastic.”
And Ondrasik has a message for other L.A. celebrities who are now jumping on the Kings’ bandwagon.
“Here come the posers,” he said with a laugh. “My attitude is everybody come on in, jump on the bandwagon, but don’t pretend you’ve been there and please don’t try to talk hockey.
“You’re all welcome . . . just smile and wave the towel.”