In Memory

John Wolf

John Wolf

We have lost a great friend as John Wolf has passed away following a brief fight with cancer. John worked for the Kings for 35 years in a ...variety of front office positions -- “Wolfie” as everybody called him truly was one a kind. During his tenure with the franchise he worked with every Kings team owner, seven general managers, 17 head coaches and countless players, starting on the job in 1970 as Director of Kings Publicity. In his most recent role he was in charge of the club’s travel, training camp and immigration issues, working countless hours to help support the team. His job duties also initially extended beyond the Kings, working under original Kings owner Jack Kent Cooke when Mr. Cooke owned the Lakers and Forum, and prior joining the Kings he covered prep sports for the Los Angeles Times. John had a great passion for sports – his brother Wally pitched for the Angels – and tremendous love and support for his two daughters Elizabeth and Julianne. John passed away in Phoenix on Christmas Day, two days shy of his 70th birthday, from Stage 4 cancer. He is at peace now and for that we are very thankful.



It seemed right Tuesday to pay a special visit to the team photographs that cover several walls at the Kings’ practice facility in El Segundo. So many of those photos include the smiling face of John Wolf, who worked for the club in several capacities from 1970 until 2006 and, before that, covered prep sports for The Times. Wolf died of cancer on Sunday in Phoenix, two days short of his 70th birthday.

Wolf was renowned for being pleasant and helpful while he served as the Kings’ director of public relations, travel coordinator and assistant to the general manager, but he had an especially significant impact on the lives of two members of the Kings’ organization. Bruce Boudreau, who coached the Kings’ top farm team in Manchester, N.H., firmly believes Wolf saved his life.

It was Wolf, who was in charge of travel arrangements, who moved up Boudreau’s flight from Boston to Los Angeles for the Kings’ 2001 training camp by a day so Boudreau could attend meetings with then-coach Andy Murray. He moved Boudreau to a flight on Sept. 10, 2001. Boudreau had been scheduled to fly the next day on United flight 175, one of two planes that was crashed into the World Trade Center by terrorists. Two Kings scouts, Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis, were on the doomed Sept. 11 flight.

“He was really a good man to me and my wife, and if it wasn’t for him changing the flight, I wouldn’t be here today. It was that simple,” Boudreau told the Minneapolis Star Tribune when informed of Wolf’s death. “He’s the one that made all the flights. He OKd mine. I owe him everything for the rest of my life.

“If my kids needed things, if my wife needed things, he was always right there. He was a really good man.”

Wolf was one of the first Kings staffers Luc Robitaille met after he was drafted by the club in the ninth round in 1984. By the time Robitaille’s name was called only Wolf and scout Alex Smart were still at the Kings’ draft table, and they had already given other draftees all the Kings shirts or hats they had brought with them. Wolf quickly improvised. “Then he gave me the pin he was wearing. I still have it,” Robitaille told The Times in 2006.

Robitaille remembered that Tuesday and also recalled Wolf’s upbeat nature in the face of a huge workload. The Kings’ front-office staff was much smaller back then, and Wolf was pulled in several different directions.   

“The thing with John was that he had a joke for us every day. I remember he’d come down and give us a joke and he always seemed to have a new joke every time we’d see him,” Robitaille said in a phone interview. “He was a great person. He had a smile every day. He loved to work for the Kings and he did so much for so long. In those days, there was only John Wolf, Rogie [Vachon] and Marcia Galloway. That was it. When you think about it, it’s amazing. He did everything.”

Galloway, a longtime executive assistant, died in November.

Robitaille said he hadn’t spoken to Wolf for a while before he called to invite Wolf to Vachon’s Hockey Hall of Fame induction in November. “He was so grateful,” Robitaille said. “He said, ‘Luc, let me get back to you because I’m not sure about my health,’ and he got back to me about a week and a half later and said he couldn’t make it.”

Among Wolf’s survivors are two daughters, Elizabeth and Julianne.