Anaheim Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy can barely contain his enthusiasm for the upcoming 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game between the Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings (Saturday, 9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC) at Dodger Stadium. In his first edition of the player blog he is doing for NHL.com for the next three days, Lovejoy talks about the history of Dodger Stadium, the uniqueness of playing hockey in Southern California, the rivalry that will be on display Saturday night for the rest of the hockey world to see and a special skate he has planned during Friday’s family skate after the Ducks practice.
His first blog entry comes after the Ducks' 2-1 victory against the Kings at Honda Center on Thursday:
ANAHEIM -- This is so exciting. This is a game where, when it was announced this summer, everyone in the room circled their calendars. We can't wait to be a part of the first outdoor game in a warm-weather climate. We've all watched them on TV or been a part of them in the past, but they have all been in big-market, northern cities. This will be the crown jewel for hockey in Southern California, and everybody is so excited to be a part of it.
I think the three California teams have made a statement about California hockey all year. I think that all three are locations where players want to play. Guys want to come to Anaheim, guys want to come to L.A., they want to live in San Jose. Guys will play hard because they want to stay there. These are special places to play. The fans are into it. You live in a great part of the world. I think we are going to show the rest of North America that hockey is huge in Southern California, hockey is special here and what better place to showcase the two Southern California teams than in Dodger Stadium.
That was a playoff hockey game tonight against the Kings, and it was a great game. We know that we can't win the Stanley Cup in January, but you want to win games like that. Those are so special, so important. That is a good team over there. We were barely better than them by one goal and we have struggled with them for the past year and a half. They have been a good hockey team for a while now. In the rivalry, they won the last Stanley Cup. Until we can beat them in the playoffs, knock them out of the playoffs or win a Stanley Cup, we're going to be fighting to be better than them.
I think all of us are excited to get there tomorrow for the practice day, to see the venue, to be in awe. This is going to be so special; the history of Dodger Stadium, the franchise. I'm hoping Vin Scully will call a little bit of the game at some point, maybe bring him into the booth. It's such an iconic venue and two teams that have become dominant hockey cities are going to showcase it to the rest of the world Saturday.
We have looked at what the stadium will look like a little because of tickets because we were able to pick where our families are going to sit. It almost looks unbelievable with the little rink in the middle of the diamond. But, it doesn't matter. The ice surface is going to be secondary. You wouldn't want to play 82 games in sunny California outside, but one showcase game is going to be spectacular. Nobody is going to remember the ice, they will remember the venue and they will remember playing the Kings and, hopefully, they will remember winning.
I had a daughter, Lila, and she was born 3 1/2 weeks ago. My parents have been waiting until she was born and then the outdoor game before they came out, so they just met my daughter for the first time. They are coming with my wife, Avery, and maybe my daughter to the game. My daughter is coming to the family skate tomorrow afternoon. It'll be her first time on ice. We're going to go for a twirl.