East Coast vs West Coast will go at it starting on Wednesday. It is an eight seed vs a six seed. It is also the first time these two teams are meeting in the finals, yet something seems awfully familiar.
The Kings, who last went to the finals in 1993, are looking to hoist their first cup while the Devils are looking for a return to the top for the first time since 2003.
That year, 2003, was a bittersweet year for me. Then working for the Mighty Ducks, now renamed the Anaheim Ducks, we made an amazing playoff run to get to the Stanley Cup Finals. While most predicted we would not get past the first round against the Detroit Red Wings, the series sweep and run towards the championship continues to hold special memories for me and my colleagues.
It was in the finals that year, that we, the Ducks, came within one game of being named champions. I have never watched replays of that final game. Nine years later, it still hurts.
In an ironic twist, one of my colleagues and close friends, Michael Williams, is returning to the finals. Once the Director of Sales and marketing for the Ducks, he is now, wait for it, the Chief marketing Officer for the NJ Devils. Williams is still looking for his first championship ring. After leaving the Ducks ahead of Disney’s sale to the Samueli family, Michael, went on to work as an executive for the San Francisco 49ers, before landing on the East Coast with his current job.
Now, as a Devil, he is hoping the other side of the coin will land with a championship as New Jersey takes on the other Southern California team, the LA Kings.