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Dustin Brown: How He Made It to the Stanley Cup

July 15th, 2014 at 11:25 PM
By Suzanna Bezyan

After playing hockey at Ithaca High School for two years, Brown left his hometown to play junior hockey at age sixteen.[6] He was drafted in second round, 26th overall by the Guelph Storm in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Priority Selection. Brown played three seasons for Guelph and scored 194 points in 174 games. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, thirteenth overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Brown signed a three-year entry level contract with the Kings and made the Kings’ 2003-04 team out of training camp. His first NHL game was October 9, 2003 against the Detroit Red Wings. Brown saw fourth-line ice time in his rookie year, and he managed just one goal and five points in 31 games before his season was cut short by a high ankle sprain. Nonetheless, Brown’s physicality made a favorable impression with the Kings’ coaching staff.

The following season was cancelled due to the NHL lockout. Brown was assigned to the Manchester Monarchs, the Kings’ AHL affiliate, in order to develop his offensive game. Brown performed well in Manchester, averaging nearly a point per game and readying himself for an expanded NHL role.

On October 26, 2007, shortly after the start of the 2007-08 season, the Kings and Brown agreed to a six-year, $19.05 million contract extension that ran through the 2014–2015 NHL season.

The Kings named Brown the 15th captain in team history on October 8, 2008, just after the start of the 2008-09 season also the youngest and only American-born captain in team history.

In 2012, Brown’s dream to be the first captain in Los Angeles Kings history to raise the Stanley Cup, came true, as the Kings beat the New Jersey Devils 6-1, in game six of the playoffs, on home ice.

Though feared on the ice, he is respected, and not just on the ice but off the ice as well. He is the type of captain that ensures his teams bonds and that he is always available to them. Though he is more of the quiet reserved type, Brown has truly grown since he was drafted by the Kings in 2003.

In the summer of 2013, with one year remaining on his contract, the Kings signed Brown to an eight year contract extension, running through the 2021-22 season.

General Manager Dean Lombardi told the Los Angeles Daily News, “You add him to the core of the other top players we now have signed to long-term deals. Having your captain under the umbrella certainly is a good feeling. He’s a classic case of somebody’s who’s grown, not only as a player but as man, every year. When I first got here, it was very difficult to get two words out of him. To see how much he’s grown as a person is as incredible as his game.” Lombardi added that you see how much he’s grown based on him negotiating his own contract and putting his team first in his negotiation. He made sure it was in the best interest of the team.

Brown is known for his physical, north-south style of game. Brown considers himself a clean hitter. Brown had never been issued a fine or suspension from the NHL Department of Player Safety until April 24th, 2013, when he received 2-game suspension for an illegal elbow to the head of Minnesota Wild forward Jason Pominville on April 23rd, 2013. Despite his aggressive style, Brown has not missed a game due to injury in four seasons.

In 2014, the captain helped the franchise reach its second Stanley Cup, as they were dubbed the Kings of the NHL.

The right wing has played 720 regular season games, accumulating 415 points, and 518 penalty minutes.

The right-hand shot has also played 76 post season games with the Kings, accumulating 45 points, a plus-15 rating and 76 penalty minutes.

The organization says amongst the franchise all-time leaders he ranks eighth in games played, 10th in goals, 17th in assists, 12th in points, seventh in power play goals (70) and tied for seventh in game-winning goals (25). In the postseason he ranks tied for seventh in games played, tied for eighth in goals, 13th in assists, tied for 11th in points, tied for fourth in plus-minus, tied for seventh in power play goals (five), tied for first in short-handed goals (two), and tied for fifth in game-winning goals (three). Brown has ranked between first, second and third from 2006-07 season through the 2011-12 season in the league with hits. In the 2012-13 season he was eighth.

Brown was also a 2009 NHL All-Star, a silver medalist with Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics, and a bronze medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi (assistant captain). He was a member of Team USA at the World Championships four times, and the World Junior Championships twice.

Dustin Brown is respected is due to his charity work. Brown has been nominated twice in the past two seasons for the Mark Messier Leadership Award, for his pledge to donate $50 to charity per each hit he dishes out on the ice. In 2014 he won the Mark Messier Award. As the captain, he has helped establish the Kings to be known as that strong physical team, not just defensively but offensively too. Being a well-rounded all around professional athlete is a reason he is highly complimented.

The team captain has received the organizations Community Service Award several times, and was awarded the NHL Foundation Player Award in 2010-11. Brown has been the Kings Most Popular Player four times and Most Inspirational Player in 2007-08.

After becoming a father to four children in the last five years, Brown is has become involved with the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Ronal McDonald House Charities of Southern California, building playgrounds with his organization Kaboom, and military causes ( close to his heart due to his wife Nicole’s cousin who died due to suffered wounds in Afghanistan).

Brown told Sporting News, “I think it’s important as a professional athlete to be out there, whether you’re part of the L.A. Kings or any team. You’re part of the community, with a chance to make a huge difference. Most players do a good job, and it’s one of those things that it’s an opportunity and a responsibility at the same time.”

Brown has three sons, Jake, Mason, Cooper, and his most recent addition, daughter Mackenzie with his wife Nicole and lives in Manhattan Beach, California.

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