I was at the game with my dear friends Peter Guber and Bruce McNall, who was owner of the Kings in 1993, the first time they made a serious run at the Cup.
I was privileged to work with the team during that incredible 1993 season. A great story from ESPN tells the story of the Kings’ dramatic turnaround that year, and includes commentary from Coach Barry Melrose, goaltender Kelly Hrudey and other members of the team.
Here are a few excerpts:
Hrudey: Darryl Sydor (Kings defenseman, 1991-96): Barry was a very motivational coach. Players played for him. He had a great coaching style where if we played hard and followed the system good things would happen. He was a positive guy. He was a big fan of (motivational speaker) Anthony Robbins. Actually, Anthony Robbins was around the team a lot back then.
Melrose: I got into Tony Robbins’ stuff when I was coaching junior hockey and I really thought Tony’s stuff was great for me and for everybody. All his stuff is about pushing yourself and reaching goals and taking action. One of my goals was I wanted to meet Tony Robbins someday so when I got the L.A. job, I wrote Tony a letter and explained my situation and explained who I was and why I wanted to meet him and Tony wrote me back and said he would love to meet me and we met at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Marina del Rey. He actually flew in on a helicopter and we had a great talk and from that point on, Tony and I were friends. I talked to him regularly and I actually got him to help me that season.
Kelly Hrudey (Kings goaltender, 1988-96): I had a two-month stretch during the season, after having my best start ever, where I was, without question, the worst goalie in the National Hockey League. Trust me, that’s not a good feeling. I was really struggling with my confidence. It was my 10th year in the league and knowing the average career was around four years, I was wondering if that was going to be my last year in the NHL. That’s how bad I was.
Melrose: Kelly Hrudey wasn’t playing the way Kelly Hrudey had always played and it was certainly never a lack of effort. Kelly always played hard and worked hard in practice. It was a confidence factor.
Hrudey: I remember sitting in the dressing room on a Saturday afternoon before playing a home game against the New York Rangers in January, and Robb Stauber was starting in goal and I was backing him up. About two and a half hours before the game, Barry walks into the dressing room and he’s followed closely by Anthony Robbins. With the team we had with Gretzky, it was normal to see celebrities, politicians and other dignitaries coming through our dressing room to see him. But he walked in and went straight to Barry’s office. Shortly thereafter Barry summoned me into his office. I was so low at that point I was wondering why anyone would want to see the worst goalie in the NHL. Barry introduced me to Tony and asked me if I would be interested in working with Tony to get me back on track. I said of course. I was actually so pleased that my coach cared so deeply about me that he would do that for me.
Melrose: I saw Tony work with Kelly in the room and I saw the results and it was amazing.
Hrudey: It took some time, but I was beginning to gain my mental strength back and really believe I was going to be a player again. I think that experience for me and for my teammates, to witness Barry help me the way he did, formed a new level of trust with all of us. I really think that had a lot to do with us getting to the finals that year.
It’s so great to see the team back in the Stanley Cup series and playing so well. Go Kings!
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