Okay, so your first question is, "why the eff is a guy in Toronto reporting about the Los Angeles Kings?" The answer is, as a Leafs fan, I fear that my team will never, ever again make the Stanley Cup finals, so why not pay attention to a franchise that just did?
Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Kings continued to surprisingly storm their way through the National Hockey League's (NHL) 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, by defeating the Phoenix Coyotes in just five games.
For those of you that don't follow hockey, each playoff round is a best of seven and thus far the Kings have won three series', only losing two games in the process. Now they wait to see whether it will be the New Jersey Devils or the New York Rangers meeting them in a battle for the cup.
As you can imagine, while the Kings have a following in their home state, much has been made about just how little the bulk of the region actually knows about the team (they are in L.A. Laker territory, after all). In a world where there's an app for everything, the Kings have created a rather enjoyable app that should certainly educate more of the masses, now that the team has made it back to professional hockey's biggest stage.
To start with, the Kings' free iOS app consists of some of the basics and things that you'd expect from a sports franchise. Upfront are items like the team's schedule and final scores, as well as a series of links that direct individuals to Kings related news. Both of these sections provide the opportunity to catch up on what the team is about and how they're doing, at a pretty quick pace.
Some of the specialized sections include Kings Vision, which is a video dedicated section of the app. Within here is a collection of on-ice footage (like the team celebrating its win over Phoenix), highlight packages of games, insider analysis, as well as behind the scenes footage with the players - a feature that is generally a treat regardless of the team.
It also doesn't hurt that there are videos of the team's Ice Crew, which is code for the team's hot, scantily clad female "cheerleaders." What does hurt, however, was that I was unable to actually get these videos to load up and play. Once again, here I am, foiled by more women that are out of my league.
Comments on all of these videos can be posted once a user creates an account through the app. This footage can also be shared via Twitter and Facebook.
There are also features dedicated specifically to the team's Stanley Cup run. For those of you who don't know, one of the biggest hockey traditions is players growing beards and not shaving until they are either eliminated from the playoffs, or have won the whole thing.
The app features a Beards section that allows an individual to take a photo of someone behind a digitally created beard. Several options are available and the results can be hilarious. These images can be shared within the app's Beards Gallery.
The Kings also offer access to its Beard-a-thon charity initiative through the app. It encourages fans to grow a ton of facial hair and seek pledges from friends, in order to support the continually evolving scruff. So far, over US$40,000 has been raised and the final tally will eventually be donated to Kings supported charities.
Although it's fair to say that the Kings have been thee surprise of this year's playoffs, considering that the team barely qualified for them in the first place, they have certainly proved that they belong. Now, through the team app, the rest of us can get a closer look at what these potential champions are all about.