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Stars come out for Stadium Series game in L.A.

by Dan Rosen

LOS ANGELES -- Only in Los Angeles could a red-carpet event at a hockey game produce the kind of palpable buzz that was so evident two hours before puck drop Saturday night at Dodger Stadium.

There was KISS in full costume and makeup, Alyssa Milano talking about her love of sports, particularly hockey, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brian Wilson sporting his long beard, and Wayne Gretzky photobombing actor and entertainer Tom Arnold.

"This is a wonderful night, a spectacular event, only a positive for hockey and a positive for sports in California," Gretzky said. "It's an opportunity, too, to show people how great a hockey city this is."

Before the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks took the ice to play the first game in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, hockey and Hollywood meshed in the Lexus Dugout Club underneath the stands behind home plate at Dodger Stadium.

Actor Jon Hamm was wearing his St. Louis Blues hat with his wife, Jennifer Westfeldt, beside him. Gold-medal winning beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings was there with her husband and kids.

Former ballplayer Nomar Garciaparra, who played parts of three seasons with the Dodgers, talked about his appreciation for the fitness that goes into hockey and the science that goes into ice-making. Legendary Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda was there talking about how Dodger Stadium has played host to the pope, The Beatles and now outdoor hockey.

"Let's not forget one thing, L.A. is the sports capital of the world," Lasorda said. "Right here in Los Angeles and don't ever forget it."

"Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak was there. A veteran of the first five NHL Winter Classic games, Sajak didn't attend the game earlier this month at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Mich., because he knew he'd be able to come here to see his beloved Kings play the Ducks.

"You're either a hockey fan or you're not; (there are) those who are rabid about it, and those who aren't I think are missing out on a terrific sport," Sajak said. "This kind of gets the message out about this game to the casual fan, and it's hard to do that."

Grammy Award-nominated singer Jordin Sparks, who performed "The Star-Spangled Banner," posed for photos. Actor Colin Hanks, in his Kings hat and jacket, talked about how he used to like the shootout but now he wouldn't mind seeing it out of the game.

Oh, and did we mention Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer of KISS were there in full makeup and costume talking about hockey and signing commemorative Stadium Series goalie masks.

There were multiple sightings of Simmons' famous tongue.

"We're as excited about it as you are to see us," Simmons said of the opportunity to play Dodger Stadium before the game and during the first intermission.

Asked what he thought about the NHL, the Kings and the Ducks making hockey cool in Southern California, Simmons said it should happen and it is happening.

"The mountain is not going to come to you Mohammed, you're going to have to go to it," he said. "The same old, same old is gone. A woman playing an organ at a baseball game, 'Take me out to the ballgame,' that's yesterday. You're either going to attract new fans or you're going to be grandma's sport. That includes everybody. You've gotta reach it out, make it hip, make it cool."


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