Ducks shut out Kings in unique outdoor clash
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Palm trees, a beach volleyball court and pyrotechnics from American rock band KISS - Saturday's ground-breaking National Hockey League (NHL) game at Dodger Stadium certainly delivered something very different.
For many people watching in the sellout crowd of 54,000, the result was largely academic as the Western Conference-leading Anaheim Ducks beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-0 after taking control with a double strike in the first period.
What really mattered to the average sports fan, whether a lover of hockey or not, was that Saturday's 'battle in the ballpark' on a pleasant evening for the entire family to enjoy was the first ever outdoor NHL game to be played in California.
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 was the first held in the U.S. west of the Mississippi River, and it was presented 'Californian style'.
Fans were treated to a most unusual sight as they poured into the iconic baseball venue at Chavez Ravine where a hockey rink was set up in the infield, an in-line skating rink in front of it and a beach volleyball court in left field.
Palm trees lined the approach where the players made their initial appearances and a slice of Hollywood was served up with actors Jon Hamm and Alyssa Milano among those walking the red carpet shortly before the puck dropped.
Flamboyant 1970s rock band KISS, wearing their customary black and white face paint, wowed the crowd with a pre-game show that featured their trademark song, "Rock and Roll All Nite", as fireworks lit up the night sky.
Wayne "The Great One" Gretzky, who more than anyone else popularized hockey in California after joining the Kings in 1988 and playing eight seasons with the club, was introduced to the crowd as deafening roars echoed across Dodger Stadium. Continued...