Kenora cheers on L.A. Kings' Mike Richards
People in Kenora, Ont., are cheering on hometown hockey hero Mike Richards as he and the Los Angeles Kings keep vying for the Stanley Cup.
Fans of Richards, a 27-year-old Kings forward, gathered at the Kenora Recreation Centre on Wednesday evening to watch Game 4 of the NHL playoff final against the New Jersey Devils.
But Richards and his teammates did not get to hoist the Stanley Cup that night, as the Devils won 3-1 to avoid elimination.
That means fans in Kenora, a city of about 15,000 in northwestern Ontario, will have to wait a few more days to see if Richards will get to bring the Stanley Cup home.
On Wednesday, every store in town was festooned in purple and black and selling everything related to the L.A. Kings.
Jeff Bowen, a clothing store owner and a friend of Richards, said Richards's humble attitude makes him a local fan favourite.
"He always comes back — you always you see him in the community, walking down the streets," Bowen said.
"He's approachable, lots of people go up and shake his hand, get autographs, pictures."
Even Kenora city hall was decked out in posters showing support for Richards and the Kings.
"This community's rallying behind one player and … [putting] aside any bias that you have against a team," said Andrew Leite, music director at Kenora radio station Q104.
"Two years ago, everybody in this town was wearing Philadelphia Flyers jerseys. Tonight, you'll see everybody wearing a L.A. Kings jersey."
Also cheering on the L.A. Kings are people in Winkler, Man., the hometown of fellow Kings forward Dustin Penner, 29.
Travis Zajac of the New Jersey Devils is being cheered on by family members and friends in Winnipeg, where the 27-year-old forward is from.