Stadium Series Overview
Tomorrow is the day. At 7:00 PM Saturday night, the puck will drop at Levi’s Stadium marking the start of the Stadium Series match between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings. But while the Kings received the opportunity to play in the Stadium Series last year against the Anaheim Ducks, this is San Jose’s first outdoor game. In an effort to give local fans a better idea of the event, I interviewed Kings writer Walter McLaughlin.
McLaughlin is a fellow writer of mine here at The Hockey Writers and was the journalist who covered the outdoor game in Los Angeles last year, so he has a good idea of how an even like this runs. Luckily for us Sharks fans, he was kind enough to let me do a short interview with him and ask him some questions about the event and his thoughts on the rivalry. Some of his responses definitely gave some valuable information for fans attending the game.
DW: Can you describe the atmosphere of the game?
WM: Although L.A. crowds are notoriously laid back, it had a definite charge to it. The whole thing felt like a huge outdoor party. especially with all the extra activities on the field and the bands playing between periods. The uniqueness of the event was not lost on the crowd, and despite the fact that the Kings lost 3-0, the excitement lasted until the very end.
DW: What are your opinions on this matchup compared to the Kings vs. Ducks rivalry?
WM: Kings/Ducks will always be the most intense rivalry the Kings have, but the one with San Jose is coming on strong. It’s definitely intensified over the past four years, with the teams meeting three times in the playoffs — and the Kings winning twice. Overall, it’s a great rivalry, a true turf war between northern and southern California.
DW: What added features were there to supplement the game?
WM: During the Kings/Ducks game last year at Dodger stadium, there was plenty of entertainment, including John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting, Jordin Sparks (American Idol), the USC marching band and KISS. There was also a beach volleyball court and a roller rink adjacent to the ice rink, and at one point, fireworks lit up the sky. Lastly, Bob Miller (the voice of the Kings) and Vin Scully (voice of the Dodgers) revved up the crowd just prior to the game.
DW: How much were concessions?
WM: I was in the press box, so I didn’t notice what the concessions cost.
DW: Do you anticipate there being a large amount of LA fans at the game?
WM: Yes, L.A. Kings fans travel well. I would expect a large contingent will be wearing Kings sweaters.
DW: Were there any significant problems with the event?
WM: The main problem was the difficulty for many fans (including myself) to see the players on the ice due to either bad vantage points or the distance away from the action. The game was showing on the stadium Diamond Vision screen, so I watched the whole thing on that. Also, the Kings lost.
DW: Do you have advice for fans that will be attending?
WM: I recommend they come early. Parking will probably be challenging, and the the entire experience is truly something special, so they’ll want to drink it all in. Take plenty of pictures.It really is a cool event, so they’ll want to be there as long as possible to enjoy it.
Thank you so much for doing this Walter. But even though I wish you the best of luck, I can’t wait to see my Sharks trample your Kings Saturday night at Levi’s. It’s going to be a great matchup!