Frozen Royalty: Pete Demers Had To Be A Jack Of All Trades
Gann Matsuda just published part two of this very interesting look at Kings former athletic trainer Pete Demers. It’s another solid piece about a huge part of Kings history.
LOS ANGELES — Today, National Hockey League teams have a head athletic trainer, at least one assistant athletic trainer, an equipment manager, a couple of assistant equipment managers, and a strength and conditioning coach. Most teams also have a massage therapist.
But back in the late 1960’s when Pete Demers began his career in professional hockey, through the time he became the head athletic trainer for the Los Angeles Kings in 1972, things were very, very different.
Indeed, when Demers started working with the Rhode Island Reds of the American Hockey League in 1965, or during a brief stint in 1968 with the Columbus Checkers of the International Hockey League, and even with the AHL’s Springfield Kings (the Los Angeles Kings’ minor league affiliate at the time) starting in 1969, there were no equipment managers, strength and conditioning coaches, or massage therapists.
Even when Demers got called up to join the big club all the way across the continent in Los Angeles, nothing changed. The entire staff consisted of the head athletic trainer and the assistant athletic trainer. They handled everything that the trainers, equipment managers, and the rest of the staff do today—an aspect of the game that many who became hockey fans in more recent years are not aware of.
“It was me and [assistant athletic trainer] Johnny Holmes, who was with us for several years before going off to the horse [racing] business,” said Demers. “The job was different. We had one [exercise] bike in the Culver rink [now known as the Culver Ice Arena, in Culver City, California, where they practiced].”
“I was the trainer, I was also the equipment manager, so I ordered all the gear,” added Demers. “You also did the strength and conditioning, the massage—they have a guy for that now. Then you do the assistant equipment manager’s job.”
Read the rest on Frozen Royalty.