Miller, 79, announced his retirement March 2 because of health reasons.
A statue of Miller will be unveiled in Star Plaza, just outside Staples Center, and a banner honoring him will be raised inside the arena before the Kings play the Anaheim Ducks (10:30 p.m. ET; FS-W, PRIME, NHL.TV).
“I was so happy when the Kings won their first Stanley Cup (in 2012),” said Dionne, who played 12 seasons with the Kings. “I was happy for a guy like Bob, and a guy like (his broadcast partner) Jim Fox. All those years of not winning. What a reward.”
Dionne is coming in from Buffalo, and the sculptor/artist husband and wife team, Julie Rotblatt-Amrany and Omri Amrany, are coming from Illinois to put the finishing touches on the project.
“I can’t say exactly what the position [is],” Julie said, “but [Miller] is engaging the crowd and it’s a very upbeat piece as well. I think people will enjoy interacting with it.”
The day honoring Miller has given retired Kings players and those who worked alongside him for decades the chance to reminisce a bit more. Some of the best stories are about Miller holding court, telling stories in his uniquely personal way.
“The stories to me about Bob are about Bob telling a story,” said Fox, who worked with Miller since 1990. “It’s hard to explain this, but Bob was able to tell a joke, laugh at his own joke. Some people who laugh at their own jokes are trying to be the center of attention. Bob isn’t. He genuinely thinks the joke is funny.”
Fox played 578 NHL games, all with the Kings, and said he learned how to take pride in his broadcasting job, lessons he absorbed from working with Miller.
“I was a pompous ex-athlete … when you’re an athlete, (you think) the world revolves around you,” Fox said. “I watched Bob and saw how he applied himself every day. That’s what he taught me. He taught me pride in what you do is extremely important.”
Miller was that hopeful beacon for the long-suffering hockey fans in Southern California. Before the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014, they made the Cup Final once, in 1993, losing to the Montreal Canadiens.
There were many lean periods, games and even seasons.
But Miller treated every game with the appropriate amount of enthusiasm, like it was his first game, not his 500th, said Charlie Simmer, of “Triple Crown Line” fame with Dionne and Dave Taylor.
“That just made him better and better,” said Simmer, who previously worked as a broadcaster with the Calgary Flames. “He wouldn’t think of how good he was, he would say, ‘Boy, I hope they have a good game tonight.’ And it’s almost like ‘Groundhog Day’ again: This is my first game and I’ve got to be prepared.
“That’s a big reason, for the success of hockey in L.A., was the way Bob was able to broadcast and bring the fans along. And that’s just the stuff on the air.”