Despite being a remarkable player, Robbie Laird only got to one NHL game.
He’s more than made up for that in his post-playing career. He hoisted the Stanley Cup for a second time Friday as a senior pro scout with the Los Angeles Kings.
“It’s amazing. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this organization,” said Laird, a Fort Wayne resident and former coach and player with the Komets.
The Kings’ 3-2 double-overtime victory Friday, courtesy of an Alec Martinez goal, gave them a 4-1 series victory over the New York Rangers in the final.
It was Los Angeles’ second championship in three years.
“We have a great group of staff members here and when you win something like this, it draws you closer together,” Laird said in a telephone interview as he prepared to go to a celebratory breakfast with other members of the franchise.
“When you’re part of a championship team, I think you remember what it took to win and all the hours you put in. The relationships usually last forever. It feels great and it’s amazing what the guys accomplished.”
Traditionally, players and staff who win the Cup get to take it for a day and do whatever they want with it. When the Kings won the Cup last time, Laird brought it to Fort Wayne and fans were able to take pictures with it for donations that benefited HOPE for Animals.
He’s not sure yet if the Cup will come to Fort Wayne this time around.
“I need to hold off on that right now,” he said. “I can’t make any promises.”
Laird played for the Komets from 1974 to 1979. He skated one game with the Minnesota North Stars the next season. He finished his playing career with the Komets, playing 1983 to 1985, and he coached Fort Wayne from 1985 to 1989.
He was an NHL assistant coach with Washington in 1989-90, then had six more seasons as a head coach with Baltimore, Moncton and Phoenix in the minors.
He’s been scouting ever since, helping to bring the Kings future stars like goaltender Jonathan Quick, captain Dustin Brown and forward Anze Kopitar.
“It’s a team effort,” said Laird, 59. “We collaborate on every player. So collectively, I’m real proud of our staff and everybody plays a role in this, the amateur scouts, the pro scouts, we have a development team and we have four guys who help develop our young players. And there are so many important people, like the coaches and our general manager, Dean Lombardi.
“I also feel very lucky and you have to have a lot of good things come your way. We hit some home runs on key players like Jonathan Quick. If you don’t have that type of goaltender at this time of year, you won’t be successful.”
The Kings had a tough road to becoming champions They were down 3-0 in the first round to San Jose and became the fourth team in history to rally from such a deficit. They were down 3-2 to Anaheim, too, and knocked off the 2013 champion Chicago Blackhawks on their home ice in Game 7 of the Western Conference final.
They are the first team to play 21 games and reach the Stanley Cup final and the first team to win three Game 7s on the road.
“I think the three teams we beat in the West, any of those teams could have won the Cup,” Laird said. “To get those three, and it took 21 games, it was amazing. … It’s a real testament to the players and our coaching staff. I can’t say enough about (head coach) Darryl Sutter and the assistants. The way he uses them is terrific.”