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Even after the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup on June 11, Kings head pro scout Rob Laird was a little wary of asking too many questions.
Would he receive a Stanley Cup ring?
Would he get his name on the cup?
Would get he get the option of spending a day with the cup?
``Everything has been a bonus,'' Laird said. ``You win the cup, that's enough. It was great enough that we won it.''
It turns out all the answers to his questions are ``Yes!'' The former Komets player and coach has not received a ring, and his name has not been engraved on the cup yet, but he will get to spend personal time with the cup Tuesday. He's just choosing to make part of his day not quite so personal.
Laird and his wife, Madeleine, will host a public outing with the icon of all sports trophies 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday at HOPE for Animals Low Cost Spay/Neuter/Wellness Clinic, 1333 Maycrest Drive, near the intersection of Hobson Road and Lake Avenue. Madeleine Laird is the co-founder and executive director of HOPE for Animals.
``I'm looking at it as a privilege,'' Rob Laird said. ``I guess it's been somewhat customary after the players and coaches have picked their dates for the others within the organization to get the cup for a day, too. This was a no-brainer for me. We wanted to try to share this with the public, and we have a great facility here to show off as well.''
The nonprofit clinic opened June 1, 2010. It has 18 full-time employees and 12 volunteers.
A 19-year-old seventh-round draft pick from Regina, Saskatchewan, by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1974, Laird broke his wrist in three places during his first day of training camp. The Penguins sent him home to heal, and then to Fort Wayne where he became a legend because of his hustle and tenacity.
He played in only one National Hockey League game, getting called up in an emergency by the Minnesota North Stars. On Feb. 26, 1980, Laird skated 10 minutes against the Vancouver Canucks. He didn't get his picture taken or get to keep his jersey afterward, and he also never got another chance.
Five years later, Laird started his coaching career with the Komets. He worked his way through the minors again to become an assistant coach with the Washington Capitals and started in the Kings' system 18 years ago. No one in the hockey office has been with the Kings longer than Laird.
As a scout, he helped the Kings sign many of the players on the championship team. His goal was always to help a team win the Stanley Cup.
Fans can pose for professional pictures with the cup for a $5 donation. Tours of the facilities and hot dogs and snacks will also be on sale on the property's 3-acre site.
The Komets are co-sponsoring the event and will have the Central Hockey League's Presidents' Cup and two of the International Hockey League's Turner Cups on hand. Several current and former Komets such as Robbie Irons, Dave Norris and Terry McDougal will also be on hand to sign autographs.
``Once we realized we were getting the cup, we were thinking, well, what are we going to do with it?'' Madeleine Laird said. ``Can we have everybody over to the house? How can we make a big deal out of this without overwhelming ourselves? We see this as a great opportunity to share the cup and raise awareness for our mission at the same time and hopefully raise a little money.''
Unfortunately, the cup will have to be removed by 7:30 p.m. for other commitments.
``The neat thing about this is it's an opportunity to bring back a lot of old friends,'' Rob Laird said.