Frozen Royalty: Pete Demers Is A King For Life
Just when you talk all the Kings hockey talk was over, Gann Matsuda pulls another story on Kings head athletic trainer Pete Demers. Take a look. It’s a great series for any serious Kings fan!
LOS ANGELES — Retired head athletic trainer Pete Demers spent 34 years in the Los Angeles Kings training room, and he quickly earned the deep respect of the players, coaches, general managers, owners, and team staff, many of whom continue to maintain friendships with him.
“[Demers] was a young guy who came into Los Angeles when I was there,” said Bob Pulford, who played on left wing for the Kings from 1970-71 to 1971-72, and was their head coach from 1972-73 through the 1975-76 season. “In those days, there was two of them [Demers and assistant athletic trainer John Holmes], and they did all the work. He was a hard working guy, and I demanded a lot from him. He learned to do the work, and he did it very well.”
“In those days, you became friends with your employees, and I found him to be a straightforward, wonderful person.”
Demers credits Pulford for making him a “real King.”
“He made me a real King,” he stressed. “Really firm. But if you had on your mind to stay at a place for a long time, you’d want to have it tough on you in the beginning. Something has to mold us into being able to do our jobs. They don’t just keep us here because we bring them their coffee, or something. Pulford was really firm, and I think that made the difference.”
“I got to be really good friends with him,” he added. “I’ve got to thank him for my longevity because he molded into me what it’s all about to be in the NHL. You have to have someone hammering you.”
Pulford acknowledged that he was tough on Demers, and that it was indeed a calculated move.
“I would imagine that I would’ve been difficult on him,” said Pulford. “But I did that to get him to be a better trainer, and I probably made him work a lot harder than he had done in the past. But he became a top trainer, something he’s very proud of now, too.”
“To become a top trainer, he has to know the industry, and he got to do that. You can’t let the players tell you how to treat [their ailments]. He learned to stand up to the players, and he made them do the right thing, which enabled him to give them the right treatment.”
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