LOS ANGELES—The LA Kings’ new Head Coach, John Stevens, was formally sworn in at a press conference held by team officials at the Staples Center on Monday, April 24. General Manager and Vice President Rob Blake first disclosed Stevens’ promotion in a press release Monday.
Stevens agreed to contract terms upon the recent dismissal of Darryl Sutter, who had served as the Kings’ Head Coach since 2011. Prior to replacing Sutter, Stevens worked under Sutter and Dean Lombardi (the former General Manager), as the team’s Assistant and Associate Head Coach.
Blake commenced the conference by sharing that he has known Stevens, his wife of 30 years, Stacy, and their two sons, Nolan and John Jr., “long before we crossed paths in the NHL,” and that he has been consistently impressed by Stevens’ dedication to hockey, work ethic, attention to detail, and that he is “second-to-none.”
Stevens noted that he was excited, thrilled, and looking forward to working with Blake and the team’s President Luc Robitaille. He discussed the support he received from his wife and children, as well as their drive to be successful.
“As a family, all we’ve ever wanted was an opportunity to work for an organization with good people, who is committed to the process of winning,” said Stevens.
“We certainly have that here in Los Angeles, and I am thrilled to be able to extend that relationship here with the Los Angeles Kings.”
The notion of “winning” was brought up by Robitaille at the last Staples Center press conference after Sutter and Lombardi were released. According to Robitaille, wearing a Kings jersey represents “winning, excellence, the city [Los Angeles], and our fans.”
Stevens extended his respect and thanks to Sutter and Lombardi, citing that they served as positive coaching influences.
“We’re anxious to get to work, and try to get there again,” said Stevens, noting that the team failed to score an adequate number of goals this season. The Kings are the number one possession team in the league and ranked second for shots on goal.
Stevens addressed the components of the upcoming offseason, including goalie Jonathan Quick’s recovery from an injury he sustained in his lower body at the beginning of last season, which he described as the need to “get healthy.” He noted that Quick contributes significantly to the team’s leadership.
He acknowledged the team’s younger players, who “need to take a big step,” but that a number are experienced and will have a significant impact on the team.
“We are willing to get the work boots on and start climbing the mountain,” Stevens concluded.