Hockey fans in southern California will have an opportunity to watch some of their favorite NHL stars next year in possible 80-plus degree temperatures from the great outdoors when the Los Angeles Kings play host to the Anaheim Ducks at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25, 2014.
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The event is part of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, in which the NHL plans to play a number of regular-season games in outdoor venues in 2013-14. The League already announced another game in this series last week, revealing plans for a outdoor game at Soldier Field, featuring the Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins, to be played on March 1, 2014.
"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," Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "At a venue that represents so much glorious sports history, this match-up 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, Coors Light, Dodger Stadium and the Los Angeles Dodgers for bringing it to life."
Since the addition of a second team in Southern California 20 years ago, the Freeway Face-Off between the Ducks and Kings has been among the most spirited rivalries in the NHL. The Ducks became the first of the two franchises to win the Stanley Cup in 2007 and the Kings matched that feat this past season when they became the first No. 8 seed to win the championship.
"Dodger Stadium has been home to many unique and special moments over the past 51 years," Los Angeles Dodgers president Stan Kasten said. "We'll add another first in 2014 when the Dodger Stadium infield turns to ice as we host our first NHL game between the Kings and the Ducks."
The Kings actually have some history with outdoor hockey events as the NHL's first outdoor game was an exhibition pitting the Kings against the New York Rangers in the parking lot of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Sept. 27, 1991. That game took place in 85-degree weather.
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Luc Robitaille, the Kings president of business operations, is excited that his organization was given the chance to participate in such a marquee event.
"This is a credit to our fans and the amazing support they have shown to us and the NHL these past few years," Robitaille said. "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."
Robitaille, who spent three separate stints with the Kings during his illustrious career, retired as the all-time leading scorer among left wings with 1,394 points in 1,431 games. He established career highs of 63 goals and 125 points with Los Angeles in 1992-93, when the Kings lost in five games to the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Final.
Dodger Stadium, which opened April 10, 1962, is the third-oldest continually used park in Major League Baseball. The venue has hosted more than 147 million fans since it opened and has been the setting for eight World Series and close to 4,000 regular-season games
This is the first time, however, that the stadium will host a hockey game.
With a remarkable view of Chavez Ravine overlooking downtown Los Angeles and the San Gabriel mountains, Dodger Stadium has been called one of the treasured cathedrals of baseball with one of the most unique and picturesque settings in sports.