Anaheim Ducks' Daniel Winnik, left, and L.A. Kings' Drew Doughty… (Harry How / Getty Images )
Switching from cold, snowy vistas to the backdrop of a Pacific sunset, the NHL on Monday confirmed the Kings and the Ducks will face off in an outdoor game Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. Dodger Stadium.
The contest, the first regular-season NHL game scheduled for an outdoor venue in a warm-weather city, will be played on a portable rink laid out from first base to third base. Contingency plans will be made for rain or other issues.
"I think that's a perfect setting for a hockey game," said Kelly Cheeseman, chief operating officer of the Kings' parent company, AEG. "With the mountains and the palm trees in the background, you couldn't ask for a more magical setting."
The Kings played an outdoor exhibition game in 1991 in Las Vegas that was marred by bad ice and an invasion of grasshoppers. Advances in technology now allow the NHL to stage an annual Winter Classic outdoor game around New Year's Day. The Kings-Ducks game is one of six outdoor games to be played next season.
Dan Craig, the NHL's facilities operations manager, said he and his crew will work mostly at night to build and maintain the surface and will have at their disposal a new refrigeration truck, new and specially designed rink floor, and reflective thermal blankets to protect the ice during the day.
"We have had great success with all the engineering," Craig said, adding he transformed Zambonis into wet-vacuum machines to siphon more than 4,000 gallons of water off the rink set up at rainy Heinz Field at Pittsburgh in 2011.
"We have done any type of weather that has been thrown at us. So we're very confident that we're going to be pulling together a great event here."
John Collins, the NHL's chief operating officer, said the Kings aggressively pursued this game. Success here could lead to games in other non-traditional cities.
"We're trying to get this event to more markets and give more people an opportunity to tailgate and celebrate around hockey," he said. "I like the idea of tailgating in shorts."