Outdoor hockey is returning to California for a second straight season, the National Hockey League announced Wednesday. This season's game features two teams that have become quite familiar with each other in recent years.
The San Jose Sharks will be the home team against the Los Angeles Kings at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara on Feb. 21, 2015 at 7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET) as part of the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series. The game will be broadcast by NBCSN and "Hockey Night in Canada."
No two teams in the NHL have played against each other more than the Sharks and Kings have since the start of the 2010-11 season. They have played 41 games, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs, in the past three seasons, highlighted by seven-game series in each of the past two postseasons.
NHL STADIUM SERIES INFORMATION
The Kings rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Sharks in the Western Conference First Round last season. Los Angeles went on to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in three seasons.
"The growing excitement around NHL hockey in California hockey, 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," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "We thank the Sharks, the Kings, Coors Light, the San Francisco 49ers, Levi's Stadium and everyone involved in producing the next episode of our Coors Light NHL Stadium Series."
The Sharks will be competing in their first outdoor game; they will become the 19th team in NHL history to play in a regular-season outdoor game. The Kings will be playing in their second outdoor game; they lost 3-0 to the Anaheim Ducks in front of 54,099 fans at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25.
Sharks chief operating officer John Tortora said the success of the game last season at Dodger Stadium played a big role in the NHL returning to California for another outdoor game.
"During last summer into the fall we had reached out to the National Hockey League and expressed an interest in hosting an outdoor game for the '14-15 season," Tortora said Wednesday. "We recognized we had two outstanding venues, Levi's Stadium, which was in the process of being built at the time, and AT&T Park. The League was very interested in coming to Northern California, however at that time they had yet to conduct an outdoor game in a warm-weather market and they wanted to see how that game went last year. They also wanted to make a decision on how many outdoor games they wanted to have during the '14-15 season. During the '13-14 season the League had six outdoor games counting the Winter Classic. So, while we continued to persist, we also waited. Fortunately the game between Anaheim and LA at Dodger Stadium was a big success. That was one hurdle we had to clear."
The temperature at Dodger Stadium at the start of the game was 63 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the warmest NHL regular-season game played. According to weather.com, the average high temperature in Santa Clara on Feb. 21 is 63 degrees Fahrenheit while the average low is 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
The NHL Stadium Series game at Levi's Stadium is the second outdoor game on the schedule after the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals on Jan. 1, 2015.
"Two years in a row now the state of California would have hosted two outdoor games…and this shows how much the sport of hockey has grown in California over the last 20 years and is now very much a part of our fabric," Tortora said. "Specifically, youth hockey has grown exponentially in the Bay Area over the last 20 years, particularly at our Sharks Ice facilities throughout the Bay Area. And we have more recreational adult hockey players in the Bay Area than anywhere else in the United States. All those contribute to the NHL's willingness to come to the Bay Area for this magnificent event."
Beginning at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET on Thursday a limited number of tickets to the game will be available exclusively to Sharks season-ticket holders, Kings season-ticket holders and Levi's Stadium SBL members. This opportunity is available on a first-come-first-serve basis while supplies last. Information regarding ticket availability for the general public will be released at a later date.
Tortora said ticket prices will range from $65 to $350, with an average ticket price of $150. He said 67 percent of the tickets will be priced at or below the average price.
"The Los Angeles Kings are honored to once again be selected to represent the National Hockey League at the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series," Kings President of Business Operations Luc Robitaille said. "This event is a tremendous example of how our game continues to grow and evolve in the state of California and it will bring a great deal of exposure to sports fans throughout the region. 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."
The Coors Light NHL Stadium Series launched last season with four games played in sold-out outdoor venues. This game at Levi's Stadium, the new home of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, will be the first outdoor hockey game in Northern California.
The NHL has hosted 13 regular-season outdoor games since 2003-04 with a total attendance of 740,251, an average of 56,942 per game. The four-game 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series drew a total attendance of 217,152, an average of 54,288 per game.
Levi's Stadium, a $1.2 billion venue, is less than 10 miles from SAP Center. It seats approximately 68,500, including 9,000 club seats and 170 luxury suites. It opened Aug. 2 with a Major League Soccer game between the San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders.
The Stadium, which features a green roof atop the suite tower on the west side of the venue, is the first U.S. stadium of its kind to achieve LEED Gold certification as new construction.
"We think this will be one of the bigger sporting events the Bay Area has ever seen," Tortora said.