After much speculation, it is now official: the Los Angeles Kings will play host to an outdoor game at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, January 25, 2014 when they play host to their cross-town rivals, the Anaheim Ducks. This game will be part of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.
With the Winter Classic returning on New Year’s Day, many team have requested bids to host outdoor games including the Chicago Blackhawks at legendary Soldier Field and the New York Rangers at Yankee Stadium as part of Super Bowl weekend in February.
Assuming all sides agree to sending the NHLers to compete in the Winter Olympics in Sochi next winter, games like these will be a fantastic send-off. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see if that will be the case. Until then, both Kings and Ducks fans have a special date to circle on their calendars and despite what the skeptics say, I’m looking forward to this game.
For those hockey fans living in colder climates, the idea of having an outdoor NHL game in southern California seems ludicrous. While I admit that what I love most about the past Winter Classics and Heritage Classics are the wintry below-freezing temperatures as well as watching the beautiful white snow fall from the sky. While we won’t be getting that in Los Angeles next January, that won’t mean that this game is necessarily going to be a bust. In fact, my only objection to having this game was not having it at the Pasadena Rose Bowl which holds just over 91,000 fans, roughly 45,000 more than Dodger Stadium. Of course, in all fairness, the Rose Bowl is virtually in the middle of nowhere with no backdrop to for the fans to enjoy (another reason I love the Winter Classic) whereas Dodger Stadium is located in beautiful Chavez Ravine on a hill overlooking downtown Los Angeles.
No matter what the naysayers may think, Dodger Stadium will be packed so much next January 25 that the fire marshalls will have to climb the foul poles to get some breathing room.
Besides being that it’s the Los Angeles Kings and that this type of game will warrant both teams to get creative and have new custom jerseys made, this game will be a milestone of sorts for the Kings and their fans.
While their opponents don’t have as rich a history as even a fraction of as many fans, the Los Angeles Kings will be able to celebrate nonetheless by (hopefully) bringing back a lot of the past from Marcel Dionne to Rogie Vachon to Wayne Gretzky just to name a few. It may be the perfect hockey climate but when you have a quarter-million fans show up for your team’s Stanley Cup Parade and even support them during their worst years, you know that something was done right.
No white winter in Los Angeles? Who cares? There’s a lot more to hockey than the climate.
Sorry Canada but it’s the truth.