LOS ANGELES–On Monday, February 16th the Los Angeles Kings hosted Armenian Heritage Night during their game with the visiting Atlanta Thrashers. The event, organized with the Armenian National Committee-Western Region (ANC-WR), also marked the occasion of the first visit to the King’s home ice of Thrasher’s defenseman, Zach Boghosian.
Boghosian, a 2008 National Hockey League first-round draft pick is the first Armenian American to be drafted to play in the NHL. Over a thousand Armenian Americans joined with other faithful Kings fans at the Staples Center to celebrate the occasion and raise awareness about the vibrant Armenian community.
“Hundreds of Armenian Americans participated in the event to support their hometown team and at the same time take pride in one of their own blazing a trail of success at the highest levels of American sports,” said Haig Hovsepian, ANC-WR Community Relations Director. “This speaks to the heart of our community’s drive to make a positive contribution and become leaders across the spectrum of American society,” he added.
In the days prior to the event, Boghosian commented about the Armenian Heritage Night event on the official Thrasher’s team blog website. In his post he discusses his heritage including his family’s surviving the Armenian Genocide which brought the family to New York early last century.
“It’s pretty special for the Kings to have Armenian Heritage Night while I’m playing there. My grandparents are Armenian and that part of my background is really important to me, because even though I’m not from there it’s always good to go back to your roots and understand where you came from,” noted Boghosian in the posted blog.
Joining the ANC-WR for the occasion was the newly appointed Consul General of the Republic of Armenia to Los Angeles, Krikor Hovanessian who was recognized by the LA Kings during the first period of the game. In addition to several shots of the many Armenian flag waving fans in the stands, the evening included a photo montage of prominent Armenian Americans shown on the arena’s “jumbotron” screens over center ice as well as an introduction of the Armenian National Hockey Team which joined in on the night’s celebrations.
Several Armenian community personalities and organizations were also in attendance and helped make the evening a resounding success. Fans were treated to an exciting game in which Boghosian earned three assists and the hometown Kings sent the offense driven game into overtime by scoring the tying goal with only seconds left in regulation time. Though the Thrashers won in game 7-6 in the overtime shootout, it was an exciting evening for all on many levels.
Following the game, Armenian Heritage Night continued with a party at Club Nokia, across from the Staples Center at which the ANC-WR hosted a table providing the latest news on Armenian American issues as well as information about how to get involved.
Asbarez Armenian Newspaper and Horizon Television were honored during the after party with a plaque marking the paper’s 100th anniversary and the television stations 20th anniversary. President of Business Operation and Kings legend, Luc Robitaille, joined Jonathan Lowe, Sr. Director of Marketing & Promotions for the Kings to invite Asbarez Armenia Newspaper’s Vice President of Sales Vache Darakjian to thank Asbarez and Horizon for helping coordinate this successful evening.
Several of the young hockey fans asked more about volunteer opportunities and the ANC’s internship programs. In addition to the ANC, the night was flavored with various tastes of the Armenian community including Armenian beer and Armenian artists, including hip-hop performer R-Mean and DJ Vick One from Power 106, who mixed American and Armenian sounds to entertain the crowd.
Several Armenian Americans in attendance expressed pride in having their culture introduced to a broader spectrum of the American community and expressed their gratitude to the Kings organization for hosting the event and players, several of whom joined the fans for the post-game party. A portion of the proceeds from the event were generously donated to the ANC-WR.
The Armenian National Committee ‘s Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American Grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANC-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
Photos courtesy of James "Tapeleg" Gralian. Read his blog post on the game at Jerseysandhokeylove.com