The inaugural season in the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Pacific Division will feature an outdoor game between the Stockton Heat and the Bakersfield Condors, the league announced on Wednesday.
It’s essentially an outdoor game pitting the prospects of the Edmonton Oilers against the Calgary Flames. The game will take place on December 18, during the AHL’s regular season, at Raley Field in West Sacramento, CA.
Both teams are a part of the newly formed Pacific Division in the AHL, in which five of the division’s seven teams are newly positioned in California. The game will be a part of the Golden State Hockey Rush, according to the AHL, which is itself a part of the “Biggest Show on Snow” – a “six-week holiday extravaganza.”
The AHL outdoor game has become a nearly annual event, but with few teams existing on the west coast before this coming season, it’s never been held on the left coast. Previous AHL outdoor games have taken place in Detroit, Michigan; Syracuse, New York; Rochester, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Hersey, Pennsylvania; Hamilton, Ontario; and East Hartford, Connecticut. It has never west of America’s mitten.
Even with that long list and a push to make it happen with some frequency in the AHL, it’s been a while since the American League hosted an outdoor game, with the last game taking place in December 2013 when the league hosted two outdoor events.
In a statement at the league site, President and CEO of the AHL, David Andrews said, “This event will be a special showcase for our Pacific Division in its inaugural season… We look forward to this celebration of hockey outdoors and to sharing the experience with the terrific hockey fans in Northern California.”
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.