“A view of seating at the south end zone at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Saturday, July 26, 2014. (Photo processed with phone app.) (Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group)”
It worked so well once, the NHL decided to try it again. The league announced Wednesday it would stage a second outdoor game in as many years in California, with the San Jose Sharks playing host to the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings on Feb. 21 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
The Kings and Ducks played the first outdoor game in California in NHL history last season at Dodger Stadium. A sellout crowd of 54,099 watched the Kings fall to the Ducks 3-0 in a game played under clear skies with relatively warm evening temperatures last Jan. 25.
San Jose was a natural second stop for the league in its Stadium Series of outdoor games, given the rapid following of its fans. The Sharks’ rivalry with the Kings also made the decision an easy one, according to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
Perhaps the only question was whether the game would be played at AT&T Park, home of baseball’s San Francisco Giants, or at the new Levi’s Stadium, the new home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. In the end, the high-tech football stadium with 68,500 seats won out.
Levi’s Stadium hosted its first event, an MLS game, on Aug. 2.
“The growing excitement around NHL hockey in California, the intensity of last season’s playoff series between these teams and the state-of-the-art setting at Levi’s Stadium will bring a thrilling new dimension to the Kings-Sharks rivalry,” Bettman said in a statement.
The Kings and Sharks have played each other 41 times since the start of the 2010-11 season, including three playoff series, the most of any teams in that span, according to the NHL’s news release. The Kings defeated the Sharks in a seven-game series in each of the last two seasons.
“This event is a tremendous example of how our game continues to grown and evolve in the state of California and it will bring a great deal of exposure to sports fans throughout the region,” said Luc Robitaille, the Kings’ former player and current president of business operations.
“The event at Dodger Stadium in front of 54,099 fans this past January was a historic moment for the Kings and for our fans, and our players and the entire Kings organization are looking forward to another fun and exciting game, this time against our Northern California and Pacific Division rivals, the San Jose Sharks.”
A limited number of tickets will go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m., although only season ticket holders of the Sharks and Kings and Levi’s Stadium SBL Members will be able to buy them on a first-come-first-served basis. Availability for the general ticket-buying public will be made at a later date.
Tickets range from $65 to $350.
KISS played at the Kings-Ducks game last season, and although there was no immediate word on the entertainment lineup for the Sharks-Kings game, a San Jose columnist called for Neil Young, a Bay Area resident to play. Young’s father, Scott, was a renowned sports reporter in their native Canada.