After the Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007, general manager Brian Burke went after the rival Kings by ensuring they became the first California-based team to win hockey’s most prized prize with a phrase engraved on their championship rings .
Five years later, Dustin Brown led the Kings to the title with a spectacular playoff run as captain and paceman. Brown and the Kings won again in 2014, giving them a 2-1 championship lead they still hold over the Ducks. The passage of time has not eased the pain for the fiery Burke.
“We became arrogant. We won our first trophy way ahead of LA. They’ve been in the league for 40 years,” the former Ducks GM said Friday. “And Brownie and his people took two of them. That really sticks with me.”
He wasn’t kidding.
It is fitting that two key figures from California’s only Cup-winning teams will be inducted together into the US Hockey Hall of Fame this year.
Brown, who set the Kings record of 1,296 regular-season games played while spending his entire 18-year career with them and captained both of their Cup-winning teams, and Burke, who served as an agent, manager and media commentator, among other roles The five new members announced Friday included more than three seasons with the Ducks and their only championship.
The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame — separate from the global Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, for which a player must wait three years after retirement to become eligible — is based in Eveleth, Minnesota, and recognizes contributions from all levels of Americans.
The rollout process will be overseen by USA Hockey, the sport’s national governing body. Brown, who was honored by the Kings this year with a statue outside Crypto.com Arena, is a native of Ithaca, New York, and recently left Southern California to return to the area.
Burke was born in Providence, Rhode Island and grew up in Minnesota.
The induction ceremony will take place on December 6th in Boston. Also elected were 1998 women’s gold medalist and longtime Boston College coach Katie King Crowley; two-time Stanley Cup champion Jamie Langenbrunner; and former NHL ice official Brian Murphy.
“I’m flattered and honored. It’s just not on the spectrum of dreams,” Burke said during a conference call.
Brown, who retired after the 2021-22 season with 385 goals, 712 points and 738 penalty minutes, expressed that he did not expect such an honor. But he definitely deserves it.
Brown was the second U.S.-born captain of a Cup winning team – he followed Michigan-born Derian Hatcher of the Dallas Stars by 13 years – and played many times for Team USA in international events, winning a silver medal at the 2010 Olympics and becoming Fourth at the 2014 Games.
His brutal style set the tone for the Kings, and his strong leadership was invaluable as they rose to the top.
“This is not a dream that we have, but it is the result of all of us pursuing our dreams and achieving those dreams to the best of our ability,” he said. “I’m shocked. It’s an incredible honor.”
And completely deserved.