Dodger Stadium, Opening Day 2013. Instead of a flag, this weekend an NHL ice rink, beach volleyball court, an avenue of palms, and Wayne Gretzky will grace the field.
Saturday night, the Ducks and the Kings (literally) face off at Dodger Stadium, one of half-a-dozen outdoor hockey spectacles the NHL is planning.
More than 100,000 showed up for such a game in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and while Dodger Stadium can't fit that many people, at least 50,000 fans are still expected to attend the Kings-Ducks game. To quote an old musical, it'll be "a show with everything but Yul Brynner."
As Helene Elliott puts it in the LA Times:
A rendering ... shows many wondrous sights that will be constructed on the field — an avenue of palm trees separating a beach volleyball court in left field from a performance stage in right field, an inline skating rink near home plate, and the rink stretching across the infield."
Elliott gave us a preview of Saturday's game, and like me, she's surprised that people are so surprised that outdoor hockey is such a big success.
They've just been a chance for fans and players to go back to the days when they skated outdoors as kids. It creates a sense of nostalgia, and this huge group event. So many people go just to say that they went rather than to see the game.
But, Elliott points out, unlike most other sports, hockey doesn't translate as well on TV, and it's best to see it in person. Plus, this will be a real game, not an exhibition.
These guys aren't going to be going through the motions, and these guys aren't going to treat it like an exhibition game. I mean, both of these teams need the two points that they could get from a win out of this game.
For much more, plus my story of a heartbreaking lost hockey stick, listen to our interview.