Dustin Brown is a right wing forward in the National Hockey League and team captain of the Los Angeles Kings.
Brown is the first Ithaca native to play in the NHL and is the second American-born captain to raise the Stanley Cup, helping the Kings defeat the New Jersey Devils in 2012 and the New York Rangers in 2014.
He also represented the United States at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics, earning a silver medal from the Vancouver games.
Click any of the following 10 questions to learn more about Ithaca’s hometown hero, Dustin Brown.
1 – So you say Brown is from Ithaca?
2 – What happened when he got to the juniors?
3 – How did Brown do when he started in the NHL?
4 – That’s pretty impressive. So he moved up quickly?
5 – How instrumental was Brown to the Kings’ 2012 Stanley Cup?
6 – What did Brown do during the NHL lockout?
7 – What did Brown do en route to his second Stanley Cup?
8 – How’d he do on the international stage?
9 – Seems like a catch. Is he a bachelor?
10 – Too many words! Can I just watch videos of Brown mashing people to bits?
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1 – Childhood
Brown was born in Ithaca on Nov. 4, 1984, and attended Ithaca High School for two years.
He was a hockey, lacrosse and baseball player growing up, but played varsity hockey for the Little Red as a freshman in 1998-99, even selecting his trademark No. 23 sweater because it was the last one available on the club. In his first year, he scored 4 goals and 13 assists in 18 games.
His sophomore year of 1999-2000, he really attracted the attention of hockey scouts, scoring 33 goals and 21 assists in just 24 games as he led Ithaca to the Class A boys’ hockey state championship.
“Him growing up here and playing for the high school team, it’s just been awesome watching him play in the playoffs,” said Brandon Shirley, a member of the Ithaca High hockey team, according to WBNG.
2 – Juniors
After two years playing for Ithaca, Brown left home at the age of 15 to play for the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm for the 2000-01 season.
He played three seasons in the OHL, quickly getting noticed by NHL scouts with his strong play.
He notched 45 points in 53 games his first year in Guelph. He helped the Storm reach the 2002 Memorial Cup in his second season, notching 41 goals and 32 assists in 63 games.
In his final year in the OHL, he notched 76 points in just 58 games.
Brown also earned recognition from USA Hockey for his efforts, playing in the 2002 and 2003 World Junior Championships as a member of the U.S. team.
3 – Early professional career
Brown’s strong play earned him a first-round selection by the Kings, who took him 13th overall in the 2003 NHL Draft in Nashville.
He made the Kings’ roster after his first training camp, and signed a three-year entry-level deal with Los Angeles.
He made his NHL debut on October 9, 2003 against Detroit. Brown earned his first NHL point – an assist – on November 5, 2003 against Florida, and scored his first NHL goal on November 23, 2003 against Colorado.
Unfortunately for Brown, his first NHL season was cut short by a high ankle sprain, and he finished with 1 goal and 5 assists in 31 games.
The NHL lockout wiped out the 2004-05 season, and Brown skated for the American Hockey League’s Manchester Monarchs that year, scoring 79 points in 74 games.
When the NHL returned to play in 2005-06, Brown played his first full season in the league, scoring 14 goals and 14 assists in 79 games – and leading the team in hits with 175.
Brown signed a two-year extension with the Kings before the 2006-07 season, and also enjoyed an expanded role, being elevated to the top line with Anze Kopitar. He scored 17 goals – 13 on the power play – and 41 assists in 81 games, and continued his physical play, finishing second in the NHL with 258 hits.
His progress continued in 2007-08, as he notched his career-best 33 goals in 78 games, and finishing with 60 points. He also led the NHL with 311 hits.
He also signed a six-year, $19.05 million deal with the Kings in October of 2007, keeping him in Los Angeles until the 2013-14 season, and he was quickly becoming a fixture for the club.
4 – Captaincy
Brown was named the Kings’ captain on October 8, 2008, the 15th captain in team history and first U.S. born captain in club history.
His national profile began to grow, as he earned a spot in the 2009 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal, and finished the 2008-09 season with 24 goals and 29 assists. He also recorded his first career NHL hat trick on December 11, 2008 against St. Louis.
In 2009-10, Brown was able to help the Kings reach the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since the 2001-02 season. Appearing in all 82 games for Los Angeles, Brown scored 24 goals and 32 assists as the Kings finished 46-27-9 – and 101 points, most since 1990-91.
While Los Angeles lost in 6 games in the first round to Vancouver, Brown recorded a goal and 4 assists in his first-ever Stanley Cup playoff games.
Brown also was selected to take part in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver as part of USA Hockey’s silver-medal squad.
In 2010-11, the Kings would return to the playoffs, and Brown had another solid season, recording 28 goals and 29 assists in 82 games. However, Los Angeles suffered another first-round exit, this time at the hands of the Sharks, and Brown was held to just two points in the 6-game setback.
5 – Lifting the Cup and bringing it to Ithaca
Brown’s 2011-12 regular season was a bit of a step back, scoring 22 goals and 32 assists in 82 games, and the Kings just got in the playoffs with the eight and final seed in the Western Conference.
But with the chance to just be in the playoffs sparked an unlikely run for both Brown and the Kings.
Los Angeles shocked the NHL’s top regular-season team, the Vancouver Canucks in just five games, then ousted the West’s second seed, the St. Louis Blues in a sweep. The Kings completed an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final by ousting the third seed in the West, the Phoenix Coyotes, in five games, with Los Angeles going 12-2 in its Western Conference bracket. It was the first time the Kings had reached the Stanley Cup Final since 1993, when one of Brown’s childhood favorites, Wayne Gretzky, captained the Kings.
Along the way, Brown scored 7 goals and 9 assists for the Kings, including 3 game-winning goals, recording one in each round. He also tied an NHL record with two shorthanded goals in Game 2 of the Vancouver series.
In the Stanley Cup Final, Brown’s Kings rolled out to a 3-0 series lead over the New Jersey Devils, then after losing Games 4 and 5, on June 11, 2012, Brown scored a goal and recorded two assists as Los Angeles won its first-ever Stanley Cup title.
Brown became the second American-born captain since Derian Hatcher in 1999 to accept the Stanley Cup from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
Brown finished the Stanley Cup playoffs with 8 goals and 12 assists, a point-per-game pace that led all playoff participants.
For his day with the Stanley Cup, Brown brought the trophy to Ithaca in July 28, 2012, becoming the second NHL player to bring the trophy to town, with Cornell product Joe Nieuwendyk being the first after Dallas won the Cup in 1999.
Brown and the Cup visited the town’s welcome sign, Ithaca Falls, Ithaca High School, Cass Park Arena, as well as local businesses such as Smart Yogurt – where the Cup was filled with frozen yogurt – Glenwood Pines and the Ithaca Ale House.
6 – Lockout
The Kings’ title defense was cut short by the 2012 NHL lockout which cut the regular season to just 48 games.
Brown spent part of the lockout playing for the ZSC Lions in the Swiss league. When play resumed, he played 46 of 48 games for the Kings, but a consecutive games streak was snapped due to a suspension.
Brown finished with 18 goals and 11 assists, and helped the Kings reach the Western Conference Final for the second straight season after beating the Blues and Sharks in the first two rounds, but LA fell to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in five games. Brown finished the postseason with a goal and three assists.
Brown signed an eight-year contract extension worth $47 million in July of 2013 to ensure he would stay in Los Angeles for years to come.
While Brown stuggled a bit during the 2013-14 NHL season, finishing with his lowest goal since 2005-06 and point total since his rookie year, despite playing in 79 games, he performed well as the Kings managed an improbable run to their second Stanley Cup title in three seasons. He scored 6 goals and 8 assists in 26 playoff games – including a pair of game winners.
The Kings fell down to the San Jose Sharks 3-0 in the first round, but managed to become just the fourth NHL team to rally from that deficit to win the series. Brown scored two goals and two assists in the four-game comeback, include a goal in Game 7.
Los Angeles faced the Anaheim Ducks and were able to beat them in seven games as well, and then faced the defending Stanley Cup champion – and the team that knocked them out of the 2013 playoffs – for the Western Conference title. Brown got the game-winning goal of Game 4 of the series as the Kings ousted Chicago for their second trip to the Final in three years.
Once in the Stanley Cup, Brown scored a key goal in double-overtime of Game 2 against the New York Rangers, and on June 13, 2013, became the first U.S.-born captain to lift the Cup twice as the Kings won their second Cup in three years.
8 – International play
Brown has represented the United States at two Winter Olympics, four IIHF World Championships and two World Junior Championships.
Brown earned a bronze medal at the 2004 World Championships, and captained the 2009 U.S. squad.
Brown was picked for the 2010 USA Hockey squad for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and was the assistant captain for the club who earned a silver medal.
He also was named to the 2014 U.S. Olympic team, scoring his first-ever Olympic goal against Slovakia on February 13, 2014, and first assist against Slovenia three days later. The U.S. finished fourth in the tournament.
9 – Personal facts
Brown is married to Ithaca native Nicole Brown, as the two met at the age of 15 at a state hockey tournament. They have four young children.
The family resides in Manhattan Beach, California during the season, and also have a home in Ithaca.
10 – Can I watch Brown mash people to bits?