FInal Stadium Series architectural rendering unveiled.

Dodger Stadium hockey

An artist’s rendering of what Dodger Stadium will look like when the Kings play the Ducks on Jan. 25.

The rendering above illustrates the final transformation of iconic Dodger Stadium for the historic NHL game.

The Kings and Ducks will face-off on the NHL-regulation size ice rink located in the infield.

Local beach volleyball players will play before the game, and during the first and second intermissions, on a beach volleyball sand court located in left field. Center field will feature palm trees. Participants from the Ducks and Kings’ NHL Street hockey programs will scrimmage on the street hockey rink in the home plate area.

The Ducks and Kings logos will share the spotlight in centerfield. A sand sculpture of the Kings logo will be embedded in the beach volleyball sand court while the Ducks logo will be featured in the bottom of a pond in center right field.

Daily Distractions: How Dodger Stadium will turn into a hockey venue.

Dodger Stadium hockey game

Dodger Stadium’s transformation into a hockey venue began Monday. (Instagram)

Dodger Stadium opened its outfield gate Monday, and the transformation began.

A crew of about 200 local workers spent their day trudging on and off the field, carrying the components of a giant stage deck that was laid over the infield. Then came the plywood, then the 30-foot long aluminum pans holding enough refrigerant to cool a 2-inch thick sheet of ice to 22 degrees Farenheit.

Over the next 12 days, the transformation from baseball field to hockey venue will be complete. The Kings and Ducks are scheduled to play the first outdoor hockey game in Los Angeles on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. as part of the NHL’s “Stadium Series,” a slate of five outdoor games this winter.

The stories of the meticulous transformation, the man behind it, and the preposterousness of playing an outdoor hockey game in Southern California, will wait for another day. NHL ice-maker Dan Craig, Kings president Luc Robitaille, and Dodgers president Stan Kasten filled in some of the smaller blanks yesterday:

• Robitaille said that 50,000 tickets have been sold, and the venue will accommodate up to 54,000 for the game. That’s 2,000 less than Dodger Stadium’s baseball capacity. So where can’t you sit? Kasten said he wasn’t aware of any sections that will be blocked off. It could be that another 2,000 seats will be added if there’s enough demand.

• There will be no seats on the field.

• In order to level the playing field (literally), Craig’s team used a laser from the bottom deck of Dodger Stadium to measure the incline of the field. The pitcher’s mound has been leveled; that’s where the penalty boxes will go. The Kings’ and Ducks’ benches will be in the shallow outfield.

• Kasten got assurance from the NHL that the rink construction won’t interfere with the ongoing renovation projects outside the bullpen areas. “We’ll just have to direct people around some of the fenced-off areas,” he said.

• Craig’s crew will not work during the day. A tarp will be covering the rink area to shield the sunshine.

Some (more) bullet points for a Ratification Day:

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Daily Distractions: Zach Lee, not the next Drew Henson, has no regrets about choosing baseball over football.

Zach Lee

The Dodgers and scouting director Logan White (right) lured Zach Lee (left) from LSU with a $5.25 million signing bonus in 2010. (Associated Press photo)

MLB.com had an interesting article today about some lesser known baseball-football connections, from Frank Thomas to Jake Locker to Jameis Winston and Russell Wilson.

Maybe the most interesting line in that piece was about Drew Henson. You might recall that Henson was a star quarterback at Michigan, succeeding Tom Brady in 1998, then tried his hand at baseball and even got in a few games with the Yankees after climbing the minor-league ladder. Then he retired, tried his hand at football again, and was relegated to being a backup most of his career. Writes Jim Callis:

I still think Drew Henson could have been a star in baseball had that been his focus — one evaluator I highly respect compared Henson’s skills to those of Mike Schmidt — but doubling as a quarterback ultimately meant he didn’t realize his potential in any sport.

Maybe the Dodgers should count their lucky stars that Zach Lee has no intention of becoming the next Drew Henson.

Lee, the 2013 organizational pitcher of the year, was once a highly recruited quarterback out of McKinney (Texas) High School. He chose to attend Louisiana State University, and did for a time, and was anointed as a savior of the LSU football program in at least one headline. (Actually, read those whole first two paragraphs again in italics: The heavens part and there, riding on the clouds comes a gift from the gods, or perhaps planet Krypton. Yes, he is the one we’ve been waiting for. Zach Lee. If only this picture came replete with angelic purple wings and a shiny golden halo to signify his immaculate arrival. Well, we hope so anyways.)

As recently as last April, the New Orleans media opined about what might have been with Lee. Does Lee ever wonder “what if?”

“I don’t have any regrets about what I did, the decision I made,” Lee said Wednesday. “It’s really kind of more now going back and reflecting on memories, reflecting on the great times I had with some of my teammates. Not necessarily the on-field stuff, but more the experiences you get out of it.”

Lee said he didn’t feel any “twinges” while watching the bowl games, including Monday’s BCS championship game, when Florida State beat Auburn.

“I’m kind of an analytical person,” he said. “So I analyze football as well as having a background in it. I was a little disappointed the SEC couldn’t pull it off, but it was a great game.”

Some bullet points for a Vodoun Day:
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Stan Kasten: Outdoor hockey game at Dodger Stadium came together in two months.

Dodger Stadium

Dodger groundskeepers prepare the outfield at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News)

Dodger Stadium has already made way for motocross racing, rock concerts and Papal masses. Why not a little hockey game?

Adding to today’s announcement that the Kings and Ducks will play each other at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25 next year, Dodgers president Stan Kasten added his voice to the chorus of excitement Monday.

“I didn’t know they [the NHL] were going to get off New Year’s,” he said, referring to the traditional date for the annual Winter Classic outdoor game. “Now that they’re doing it, what a great thing to have Yankee Stadium and Dodger Stadium. Those are the places you want to have games.”

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Daily Distractions: Outdoor hockey invades Dodger Stadium.

Stadium Series

Say hello to the “Stadium Series.”

That’s what the NHL is calling the first outdoor NHL game in Los Angeles, which today was formally announced and scheduled for Jan. 25, 2014 at Dodger Stadium (and reported here last month). What will you call it?

According to the league, it will be the first outdoor regular-season NHL game played in the U.S. west of the Mississippi River, the southern-most outdoor NHL game ever and the first ever in California.

Tickets aren’t available yet but it’s believed that Kings and Ducks season ticket holders will get first dibs, with details to be announced soon.

Onto the bullet points:
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