It’s time for hockey at Dodger Stadium. The Kings and Ducks will play Jan. 25 on the field made famous by Dodgers greats like Sandy Koufax, Steve Garvey, Fernando Valenzuela and Matt Kemp, the NHL announced Monday. The game will be part of the NHL’s Stadium Series, the first regular-season game contested outdoors in Southern California. The game will be played at 7 p.m., in order to ensure the best possible ice conditions.
“With their meeting in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, the Ducks and the Kings will write the next chapter in the exciting story of NHL hockey in Southern California,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “At a venue that represents so much glorious sports history, this matchup of Stanley Cup champions will raise our outdoor initiatives to bold new heights. We know the game will be a treat for our fans and we thank the Ducks, the Kings … and the Los Angeles Dodgers for bringing this to life.”
The Ducks, the Stanley Cup champions in 2007, began playing in the NHL in 1993. The Kings, who won the Cup last June, joined the league when it expanded from six teams to 12 for the 1967-68 season. The rivalry between the two Southern California teams has largely been in the stands rather on the ice, with the Ducks and the Kings advancing to the playoffs together this season for only the second time in 20 seasons.
There is a chance they could meet for the first time in a playoff series. If the Ducks hold on to defeat the Detroit Red Wings in their opening-round series and the Kings rally to beat the St. Louis Blues in theirs, the teams could play in the second round. The San Jose Sharks would have to complete their upset of the Vancouver Canucks to seal the deal.
The NHL began to play regular-season games outdoors in 2003, when the Edmonton Oilers hosted the Montreal Canadiens at Commonwealth Stadium. Until now, the league played games in cold-weather cities, and in most cases, they were very cold-weather cities. Playing outdoors in Los Angeles, even during winter, opens the possibility of a rain-out and it’s believed a second night has been reserved.
The Kings played the NHL’s first game outdoors, an exhibition against the New York Rangers played in a parking lot adjacent to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Sept. 27, 1991. The game was played in 85-degree weather, with the ice faring about as poorly as the Rangers, who fell to the Kings 5-2.
“This is a credit to our fans and the amazing support they have shown to us and the NHL these past few years,” said Luc Robitaille, a former Kings player who is now the club’s president of business operations. “This will be a sporting event like no other that has ever been seen in Southern California and we are proud to be a part of it.”
Said Bob Murray, the Ducks executive vice president/general manager: “We are honored to be selected to participate in the NHL’s Stadium Series. Playing our rival Kings at historic Dodger Stadium will be a terrific showcase event for our sport. A Southern California outdoor hockey game in a picturesque setting will be an exciting, unique experience, and we look forward to being a part of it.”
The NHL said in a news released that it plans to release details on ticket sales soon. The league also invited fans to register at www.NHL.com/2014/LosAngeles in order to receive further information on ticketing, news and special offers.