Kings, Ducks face off under stars at Dodger Stadium

Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:01pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "California Dreamin'" brings to mind images of surf and sunshine but on Saturday at Dodger Stadium a very different dream will be realized when the Golden State stages its first ever outdoor National Hockey League game.

With a temporary hockey ice rink set up in the unusual surrounds of the iconic baseball venue at Chavez Ravine, the Los Angeles Kings will 'host' the Anaheim Ducks in the opener of the NHL's four-game Stadium Series this season.

Outdoor games have been held by the NHL in some of baseball's and American football's best known stadiums for a decade but this will be the first one played in the United States west of the Mississippi River.

While hockey fans can look forward to the unique prospect of watching two of the league's top teams face off under the stars in Southern California, organizers hope the temperature dips under 55 degrees when the puck drops on Saturday evening.

"It doesn't matter what event we go to, we study the weather trends that come through," said Dan Craig, the NHL's senior director of facilities operations and the man responsible for creating the ice surface at Dodger Stadium.

"We know when the sun goes down we are going to be in the 50s. So as long as I can be at that 55-degree (Fahrenheit) mark or lower when we drop the puck we'll be in awesome shape."

Craig and his team have been working overtime at the home stadium of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the past week making sure that the temporary ice surface stays in the best condition possible.

For most of the day, the ice is shielded from the sun by an insulated, heat-reflecting Mylar blanket which is removed at around 3 PM PT (1900 ET).   Continued...

Jan 23, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings fight during the third period at Honda Center. The Ducks won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports