Why The Los Angeles Kings Hosting An Outdoor Game Makes Sense
On the heels of the NHL confirming plans to host the 2014 Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 1 at Michigan Stadium, the Los Angeles Kings have expressed interest in possibly hosting an outdoor game as well. The league has hosted multiple outdoor games in a season before, and there may never be a better time to try and capitalize on hockey’s popularity in California than right now.
Not only are the Kings the defending Stanley Cup champions, their likely opponent would be the nearby Anaheim Ducks. Both teams have young, talented players that are easily marketable for such an event. Somehow the league has managed to come back from the recent work stoppage just as strong as ever, and while some worry about diluting the overall product by having multiple outdoor games, a chance to increase awareness of hockey outside of the traditional markets may prove too good to pass up.
Obviously the biggest concern with the Kings hosting an outdoor game would be the ability to keep the ice surface playable, but technology has improved in recent years. The most likely venue to host the event would be Dodger Stadium, which would be a good fit. Baseball stadiums have proven to be great places to host the games, as Fenway Park, Citizen’s Bank Park and Wrigley Field have all hosted previous Winter Classics. Since the launch of the Winter Classic in 2008, participating teams have been limited to the midwest and northeast regions of the United States. Getting the southern and western teams involved would only help the nationwide impact of the league, and having two playoff-caliber teams involved would be an added bonus.