By C. MacDonald
NEWPORT BEACH–With the LA Kings playing for the Stanley Cup, there’s a frenzy in Southern California and in Canada, Russia and other countries, who have natives on the team. But one of SoCal’s best kept secrets is the LA King lore at the fantastic Newport Sports Museum, near Fashion Island.
With Free Admission and Free Parking, you can see famous Kings’ autographed jerseys, skates, pucks, gloves, sticks, trophies, scorecards, game tickets and even some pretty funky things, like Dave Taylor’s athletic protector that was broken when he got hit with the puck (ouch!). There’s even popular Luc Robitaille’s 1990 All Star Jersey and his knee brace that he wore when he became the highest-scoring Left Wing in NHL history. Marcel Dionne’s skates and cast he wore when becoming the second all-time scorer in NHL history (March 10, 1986) also are there for your viewing.
Like to see Bernie Nicholls or Kelly Hrudey’s helmets? How about Wayne Gretzky’s jersey? Even popular current King, Anze Kopitar’s autographed jersey is in this fabulous museum. You’ll find unbelievable authentic stuff from a bunch of Kings like Dave Schultz, Rogie Vachon, Jimmy Carson, Mike Murphy, Phil Sykes, Jari Kurri, Tony Granto, Larry Robinson, Marty McSorley, Steve Duchesne, Norris Trophy Winner Rob Blake, Drew Doughty–plus many more.
The incredible museum, a labor of love for Orange County businessman John Hamilton, has more than 10,000 items from college and professional sports that he delightfully shares with the public. You can have an up-close look at rare memorabilia from baseball, basketball, boxing, football, golf, the Olympics, soccer, tennis, volleyball–even skating, snow and surf sports. This place has it all. You’ll find balls signed by Babe Ruth and Willie Mays in this impressive facility that can be rented out for special events.
Some of the sportsmen on their advisory board speak at this venue to help at-risk youth. Advisory Board members include former NFL greats Marcus Allen and Ronnie Lott, Olympic Swimmer Janet Evans, Angel Star Doug DeCinces, and USC Athletic Director Pat Haden. Everyone should really plan to visit the museum. It’s a terrific place to bring friends and relatives who visit you this Summer. And, no matter what team you root for, the museum probably will have jerseys, balls etc. from it. I’ve never seen anything quite like this anywhere in California.
To find out more, go to newportsportsmuseum.org; call (949) 721-9333 or, better yet, drop by 100 Newport Center Drive, Suite 100, between 10-5 any Monday through Saturday. It’s an entertaining, educational, fun experience that won’t cost you anything to see. Enjoy!