Don’t know the difference between a hat trick and a cross-check? So what. Not too long ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t know the difference, either. When a fan celebrated the team’s first-ever hat trick by throwing his hat on the ice – a long-standing hockey tradition when a player scores three goals in a game – a security guard tried to kick him out of the arena for littering. Now the Lightning are the defending Stanley Cup champions, which just proves that starting from scratch isn’t so tough. And with NHL teams desperate to lure fans to their games after a yearlong layoff, now’s the perfect time to be a hockey fan, even if you’re starting from scratch. While players and owners bickered about salary caps for 18 months, sports fans in Southern California moved on. Tickets are cheap. They’re practically giving them away on the local radio stations. If you can’t get the free tickets, the Kings have packages for the family (four tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas for $80) and for a few friends (two tickets, two nachos and two beers for $49). The Ducks have an innovative Victory Package – buy tickets to six games, and for each one the Ducks win, get a free ticket to another game. The cheap-ticket tactic just might work. Serrano liked the Kings’ ticket-and-beer package. “That is a good deal,” he said. “If they give you a good deal, I might consider it.” The NHL has made a handful of rules changes to make the game more exciting, too. There are fewer game stoppages – there are no pauses in hockey, only stoppages – and better flow, officials said. The goalies’ pads are smaller, making for more offense. And the dreaded tie scores are gone. Now, if the game is still deadlocked after a five-minute sudden-death overtime, there will be a shootout. “The rules changes should help,” said Bryan Goodwin, who just moved to Woodland Hills from Boston, where he played hockey for Bentley College. “Obviously, I’m a little prejudiced, but I absolutely missed it.” The Kings and Ducks are trolling for fans. The Ducks formed a fan development department to do just that. They’re having players, coaches and front-office personnel go to local schools and hockey clubs to speak to kids. “We want to make these kids excited, and their parents excited, about hockey,” said Bob Wagner, the Ducks’ chief marketing officer. “It’s definitely a renaissance. It’s definitely a time of change. But it’s also a time to welcome back hockey.” Josh Kleinbaum, (818) 713-3669 [email protected] THE BASICS Things to know for your first hockey game: The basics: Each team has six players on the ice at a time – a goalie, two defenders, two wings and a center. The goalies play the entire game. The other players stay on the ice in brief shifts. Time: The game is divided into three, 20-minute periods. If the game is tied after three periods, there’s a five-minute, sudden-death overtime. If the game is still tied after overtime, a shootout – new for the 2005-06 season – determines the winner. In all, the game takes about 2 hours. The Stanley Cup: The most storied trophy in all of sports, the Cup is awarded annually to the National Hockey League champion. Each player on the team has his name engraved on the Cup, and each player gets to keep the Cup for one day. The Cup was donated to the league in 1893 by Frederick Arthur, Lord Stanley of Preston. Over the years, the Cup has been stolen twice, left on the side of a road once and urinated in at least once – Hall of Famer Lynn Patrick did that honor after the Rangers’ 1940 Stanley Cup victory. The Rangers didn’t win the Cup again for 54 years. Terms to know Penalty: When a player does something illegal – such as hooking another player with his hockey stick – the referee gives him a penalty. He must spend time in the penalty box, and his team must play short-handed. Power play: When a team has more players on the ice than its opponent due to a penalty, that team is on a power play. Power plays provide great scoring opportunities. Hat trick: A player scores three goals in one game. Line change: Players stay on the ice in brief shifts, changing on the fly, in the middle of a play. Goon: A player whose primary responsibility is to beat up his opponents. These players take pride in penalty minutes the way others do goals and assists. Five hole: The space between a goaltender’s legs. Sweater: Hockey players don’t wear jerseys, they wear sweaters. Seriously. Slap shot: A fast shot made with a short, powerful swing of the stick. (Also, a must-see 1977 comedy about a minor league hockey team starring Paul Newman and the Hanson brothers. No, not the singing Hanson brothers.) Famous Kings: Wayne Gretzky: The Great One. Considered one of the best hockey players of all time, Gretzky played for the Kings from 1989 to ’96. He had 894 goals and 1,963 assists in 1,487 games. Gretzky is coaching the Phoenix Coyotes this season after being part of the ownership team. Luc Robitaille: A Kings’ fan favorite, Robitaille is in his 19th – and maybe last – NHL season. Robitaille is one of the most prolific left wings in NHL history. Jeremy Roenick: A nine-time All Star acquired by the Kings from Philadelphia in August, Roenick is the biggest name of the Kings’ new faces. Roenick drew headlines during the lockout by saying that fans could kiss his, well, you-know-what. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Since the last National Hockey League game in the area, the Dodgers and Angels have played postseason baseball, Phil Jackson left the Lakers, wrote a book about it and then came back, and the University of Southern California won its second consecutive national football championship. Ice? What is that? “I’m watching baseball,” said Roger Serrano, a sports fan from Northridge. “The Angels are in the Division Series. I really don’t care much (about hockey). I don’t follow it.” Well, the Kings and the Mighty Ducks are determined to get Serrano and others to do an about-face. The Kings have their home opener at Staples Center tonight against Phoenix. The Ducks’ first home game is Monday against Edmonton.