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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Dodger Stadium Prepares for Kings-Ducks Outdoor Hockey Game

California's first outdoor NHL game is set to feature a Long Beach native.

The Kings and Ducks will play their outdoor game in four months at Dodger Stadium. (James Santelli/ATVN)
The Kings and Ducks will play their outdoor game in four months at Dodger Stadium. (James Santelli/ATVN)

The National Hockey League unveiled the rink design Thursday for its outdoor game at Dodger Stadium, hosting a news conference that brought together league officials, Dodgers management and representatives from the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.

For the game on Jan. 25, 2014, the ice rink will sit mostly on the infield dirt beyond first and third base. It will be the first NHL regular season contest west of the Mississippi, and one the Dodgers said they are happy to host.

"Whenever we can have unique events brough to historic, iconic, one of a kind in the whole world Dodger Stadium, we're very excited to do that," Dodgers President Stan Kasten said. "No one is going to have the shot that we have, of that great NHL sheet of ice in front of our bleachers, our palm trees and our San Gabriel mountains."

The Kings and Ducks will face off as part of the NHL Stadium Series, as the hockey league is expanding its outdoor games beyond the once-a-year Winter Classic (in an American city) and Heritage Classic (in a Canadian city). Los Angeles will become the first warm-weather host of an outdoor regular season game, and it will be joined in the Stadium Series by events at New York's Yankee Stadium and Chicago's Soldier Field.

"To paraphrase the song, we hope it never rains in sunny Southern California," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "We also hope that it's not too hot. But we think that the conditions will be just right for this game."

In order to maintain quality ice, the game will be played at 7 p.m. Pacific Time and will be seen on NBC Sports Network across the United States.

Bettman praised the California's growing hockey programs, noting that youth hockey registrations are at an all-time high and that the state ranks 7th in total hockey players, according to USA Hockey.

Anaheim Ducks forward Emerson Etem, a native of Long Beach, said he could barely put into words what it will mean to play in front of 50,000-plus fans at Dodger Stadium.

"I can't wait," said Etem. "I've been to many Dodger games, and it's awesome how far hockey in Southern California has come. I'm definitely looking forward to it."

Etem, who is entering his second season with the Ducks, is one of two Southern California natives in the NHL. Pittsburgh Penguins forward Beau Bennett hails from Gardena.

"It's a dream come true just to be in this situation, just to be in the NHL, first off," Etem said. "Then you come to a historic stadium like this... it's quite amazing."

Tickets for the game are still available on, per Luc Robitaille, the team's president of business operations. Robitaille was part of the Kings franchise's only other outdoor venture. L.A. played the New York Rangers in a 1991 exhibition game outside the Caesars Palace hotel in Las Vegas.

"The one thing that was funny was over there, there were these grasshoppers that would jump on the ice and then suddenly freeze," Robitaille said. "The players kept seeing this, we thought it was the weirdest thing."

Twenty-two years later, the Kings and Ducks should hope insect control represents the biggest threat to a successful game at Chavez Ravine.


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