NHL Confirms Ducks-Kings At Dodger Stadium; New Refrigeration System Will Protect Ice
The NHL yesterday formally announced that the Kings will "host the Ducks in a regular-season outdoor game at Dodger Stadium next season," according to Eric Stephens of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. It will be the "first outdoor game involving two league teams to take place west of the Mississippi River," and will be played on Jan. 25 at 7:00pm PT. It also will be the "first contest played among the elements for both teams." The Kings have "long been one to covet" the annual Winter Classic, but NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman previously had been "resistant to the idea of holding it in a traditionally warm-weather climate." Downtown L.A. now is "being seen as a marketing opportunity after the franchise's Stanley Cup run last year." NHL COO John Collins said, "I think we have a good plan for how to pull it off obviously with the Kings and the Ducks. But I think if we do well in L.A., it opens up the opportunity to look at some other markets." NHL Senior Dir of Facilities Operations Dan Craig said that a "new refrigeration system will be used to create the Dodger Stadium rink over approximately four days and thermal blankets will cover it during the daylight hours for protection against the sun." Craig added that there are "contingency plans in the event of steady rainfall" (OCREGISTER.com, 5/6). In L.A., Elliott Teaford notes a secondary date "has been reserved just in case." The NHL picked Dodger Stadium "because of the novelty of playing a game with swaying palm trees just behind the baseball bullpens." The rink will be positioned "between first and third bases, with center ice at the pitcher's mound" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 5/7). Collins said, "We're trying to get this event to more markets and give more people an opportunity to tailgate and celebrate around hockey. I like the idea of tailgating in shorts" (L.A. TIMES, 5/7).