Leiweke’s Hot Potato

As the Los Angeles Kings prepare for the Stanley Cup finals, the team’s governor, Tim Leiweke, has been driving around with a trophy in his trunk.

The sports teams of Anschutz Entertainment Group have been seeing success of late, with the L.A. Galaxy recently visiting the White House after winning the Major League Soccer championship. But as AEG has expanded over the past 15 years, its original anchor team has been a redheaded stepchild.

“You have no idea how frustrating it is to have success in every other aspect of our company and yet that first piece, the foundation, always had cracks,” Leiweke told the Los Angeles Times. But starting May 30, the Kings have a chance to battle the New Jersey Devils for hockey’s ultimate prize. The Kings have never won a Stanley Cup, and haven’t made it to the conference championship series since 1993.

Meanwhile, Leiweke had to protect the team from bad luck. The team is now the owner of the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl for beating the Phoenix Coyotes to win the Western Conference playoff series, but hockey superstition prevents a team from touching it until after winning the Stanley Cup. So Leiweke took matters into his own hands.

“I bring it home and I’m like, ‘What am I going to do with this?’” he told the Times. “What if someone comes in to my car, breaks in and steals it? So I lock it up in my house. I haul it out and put it in my trunk the next morning.

“I’m driving around to various meetings that day and it suddenly occurs to me, it’s probably not the smartest thing I’ve ever done, having the Campbell trophy in my trunk.”

He tried handing it off to team GM Dean Lombardi. The cup didn’t accompany the team as it left Phoenix. Lombardi suggested Leiweke keep it.

“I said, ‘What? Keep it in my trunk? You want me to keep the trophy in my trunk for three weeks? I can’t do that.”

Eventually, Luc Robitaille, former Kings star and the team’s president of business operations, offered to take the cup “and did something to it and I don’t want to know.

“It might be in the tunnel between Staples and L.A. Live for all I know,” Leiweke told the paper.