There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to — Dodger Stadium.
You’d best not attempt to adjust the picture. The inner sanctum is about to explode across the outer limits. Hockey is coming to Dodger Stadium.
Dodger Stadium History
When I was a kid growing up in the L.A. area in the 70s and 80s, there was no way I could even begin to imagine that someday there might be an NHL game actually played there.
After all, Sandy Koufax pitch a perfect game within its confines in 1965. Jerry Reuss defeated Nolan Ryan in the 1981 National League Divisional Series at Chavez Ravine. Kirk Gibson clubbed perhaps the greatest home run in baseball history there in 1988. Mike Piazza launched one entirely out of the facility in 1997.
Dodger Stadium is synonymous with baseball. Fernandomania was born there in the early 1980s, as was Nomomania fifteen years later. Tommy Lasorda jawed at umpires in front of cheering home crowds. Steve Garvey swung and missed at outside pitches in the L.A. dirt. Clayton Kershaw clinched the Cy Young Award there in 2011. It’s got baseball mojo, baby.
Speaking of which, let’s watch some of that mojo, shall we?
That was tasty. In a couple of weeks, it’s going to get even tastier. Hockey hoodoo will descend upon Dodger Stadium.
The Kings will be playing the Ducks in the second of a home-and-home series
The Kings will square off at the Honda Center on the 23rd against their arch rivals, the high-flying Anaheim Ducks. Just two days later, the teams will meet up again, this time at Dodger Stadium. As of this writing, Los Angeles is 12 points behind the Ducks with a single game in hand. If the Kings have any hopes of inching closer and making a second-half run to win the tough Pacific Division, both games are going to be critical.
Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, “Pancakes” Penner, Teemu Selanne, Andrew Cogliano, Cam Fowler, Jonas Hiller and the rest of the reviled Ducks will be invading Dodger Stadium in a matter of weeks. You always want to defend your home ice, but especially where the ghosts of numerous iconic World Series championships reside. The Kings need to tar and de-feather the quacking mallards.
Will the Stadium Series dilute the special experience of the Winter Classic?
Aside from the Kings/Ducks scrum at Dodger Stadium, there will be games January 26th and 29th at Yankee Stadium between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers, and lastly, a Soldier Field battle on March 1st between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks. There is no doubt the NHL is attempting to capitalize on and indeed expand upon the Winter Classic concept.
Despite the fact that the Winter Classic has been an unqualified success for six years now, some believe that expanding the concept to a Stadium Series of four additional outdoor games will dilute its unique appeal, its special magic. Speaking of magic, some also believe in pixies and the Loch Ness monster, so there’s that. Still, there’s always the possibility that the NHL is going too far with the promotion. Without question, there are doubters of the series this year.
Not me. I’m excited to see hockey coming to Dodger Stadium. In fact, I’ll be there, covering the event for The Hockey Writers. Singer/songwriter John Ondrasik (Five for Fighting) will perform during the event, as will KISS and the USC Trojan Marching Band. Far more importantly, Jonathan Quick will be there, as will Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty, and the rest of the hometown heroes. Heck, there’s a good chance Tommy Lasorda will attend, this time without umpires to scream at. Maybe he’ll just talk loudly with the linesmen.
Hockey at Dodger Stadium will be here before you know it. That pimply-faced kid with the wild hair and horn-rimmed glasses who used to sit in the upper deck would never have believed it. Minus the pimples and most of the hair, he still can’t.
Walter McLaughlin is a Los Angeles Kings correspondent for The Hockey Writers. He is an avid sports fan, having followed the Kings since living in L.A. in the mid-1970’s, as well as suffering through Seattle sports teams’ general futility. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and has worked in community banking for over 25 years, specializing in SBA loans. He is married and has two daughters.