A nearly 19-foot bronze statue of Luc Robitaille, the NHL’s highest scoring left wing and the Los Angeles Kings‘ career goal- scoring leader, was unveiled outside Staples Center.
In a speech of about 10 minutes, Robitaille thanked his parents, teammates, friends and wife, then explained he “was just a boy with a dream.”
“I just wanted to play a game,” Robitaille said. “Many people said, ‘The boy’s too slow. He’s not strong enough.’
“Then I was a young man. That young man waited seven hours just to hear his name. I was hoping just to hear my name.
“Once I made it, many NHL critics said ‘He’s too slow.’ I think they said it my entire career.
“I would hope this statue symbolizes that if you put your heart and soul into something, dreams do come true.”
In an interview after the statue was unveiled, Robitaille told reporters it was “very, very humbling” to become the seventh man to have a statue in Star Plaza.
The others are West, fellow retired Laker stars Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the late Lakers announcer Chick Hearn, Gretzky and retired boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya.
“I know what Magic has meant to this city,” said Robitaille, who has been the Kings president of business operations since May 25, 2007. “Jerry West is the logo of the NBA. It’s just incredible to be among these great athletes.”
The 49-year-old Robitaille said the statue created by Julie Rotblatt Amrany and Omri Amrany correctly depicts “the smile I had the whole time I played the game,” and with his hockey stick held high in his right hand “it’s definitely scoring a goal.”
Robitaille was selected by the Kings in the ninth round of the 1984 draft, five rounds after they chose Tom Glavine, a Massachusetts high school hockey star who instead opted for a career in baseball and was elected to that sport’s Hall of Fame last year.
Robitaille made his NHL debut in the 1986-87 season, scoring 45 goals and receiving the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie.
Robitaille scored 668 goals during a 19-season NHL career, the 12th most in league history, including 557 in 14 seasons over three stints with the Kings.
Robitaille retired as a player following the 2005-06 season and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009.
— City News Service