Thursday, June 10, 2010

When One Door Closes, Another Opens

It's generally assumed that Raitis Ivanans has played his last game as a member of the LA Kings.
Additionally, it's expected that Princeton graduate - yes, that Princeton - Kevin Westgarth will take his place.

If that happens, there will be plenty of stories on the irony of a once-ivy-league-student now making his living as an enforcer in the NHL.  Reporters in a hurry can probably just search 'Princeton Kings George Parros' to get most of their Georgie-boy also played four years with the Tigers before spending three years with the Kings minor league affiliate in Manchester of the AHL...just like Westgarth.

Kings fans didn't know much about Ivanans.  He played limited minutes on the ice and was rather absent from public eye off the ice.  Westie, as he's known to his teammates, is quite the opposite.

He's a colorful character both on and off the ice.  Kings faithful that were in attendance at Frozen Fury two years ago took an immediate liking to him when he fought several Avs players and then openly taunted their bench after a successful exchange with Scott Parker.

Sound like a guy you'd like to get to know? 
Well, he's written several blogs this year for The Hockey News.  His most recent entry contains the following thoughts about the Monarchs recent run in the AHL playoffs:
Unfortunately, during this series I was injured and had to watch from the sidelines after tearing my MCL in Game 2. To say watching from the sidelines during the playoffs is the worst thing in the world is hyperbolic, but not by much. To see some of the players on the other team become a little braver, or pull stunts they might not have if you were in the lineup is maddening, to say the least. We were extremely lucky to have toughness from top to bottom in Manchester – even our 20-year-old Russian, Slava Voinov, beat someone up this year, but I inevitably took it personally if anything happened to my teammates. I think I now understand how my parents felt watching me play. There’s no way to get rid of that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach from the stands. Sorry, Mom.

He also offered this on his probable departure from the Monarchs:
After celebrating the season, we had to say our goodbyes and go our separate ways. That is difficult every year, but this year seemed a little different. Three years ago, I came to Manchester with a fresh crop of prospects, many of who have become the leaders of our Atlantic Division Championship team. This year things have changed as we realize it is the end of an era; many of us don’t know where we’re going to be playing next year. Playing and growing with these guys has seemed like another stint in college and this year we’re graduating. It has been an honor and a privilege to play with these guys and I can’t wait to see the things they do.

You can read more of his articles by clicking here - some even include book reviews / suggestions.

Get the welcome mat ready...Westie is likely going to find a home here on the West Coast come October.

The Mayor
and now here too -->

photo courtesy of Michael Zampelli of

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