Category Archives: Winter Classic

Not So Winter Classic: Kings reportedly to host outdoor game

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The last thing I expected to read on a lazy Sunday was something coming across my Facebook feed that The Fourth Period is reporting that we’ll be seeing an outdoor game during the regular NHL season at Dodger Stadium.

I’ve been championing this for ages, and to have this possibly come to fruition is kinda cool. I mean, not as cool as Seeing the Kings win the Stanley Cup Cool, but still pretty tremendous.

I was convinced that AEG would stick to its guns and hold onto the Winter Classic for when Farmers Field became a reality. But with the uncertainty surrounding the immediate future of that venue, I imagine the Kings ownership want to strike while the iron is hot (and the team is still a contender).

According to TFP, the league wants to stage multiple outdoor games on the same day, which makes sense for Hockey Day In America, which usually is played in February. There’s talk Yankee Stadium may also host a game, which would make the above image improbable.

Worried about the condition of the ice? According to Yahoo’s Puck Daddy, the temperature on the dasher boards in Philadelphia back in 2012 was 71 degrees. They used an insulated blanket over the ice, leaving the ice playable by gametime. Obviously they wouldn’t play the game in the middle of the day, so that suggests the game would be the second of a doubleheader.

Obviously, the two teams that would most likely play in L.A. would be the Kings and the Ducks. Two teams who have previously won the Stanley Cup on the West Coast. (LOL @ San Jose. Suck it, Sharks.) EDITOR’S NOTE: As of Sunday afternoon, the L.A. Times’ Helene Elliott reported it would be Kings/Ducks and it could possibly be on Jan. 25, 2014.

Although, if the league wanted to guarantee a sellout, they’d be better off scheduling the Red Wings, the Canucks or any other cold weather team with a bunch of transplants living in L.A.

All I know is I’ll pay ANY price to see this game in person. I don’t care if the sightlines are crap, the weather is crap or if the game is crap. It’s something I’ve envisioned for a long time.

The Winter Classic IS coming to L.A.!

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AEG released a new video touting their vision of Farmer’s Field on Tuesday. The L.A. Times does a pretty good job reporting how the stadium looks.

The rendering shows an open-roofed venue that almost looks as if it’s wearing transparent shoulder pads, with outdoor concourses. The idea calls for a light, accordion-style roof that is somewhat translucent, as well as lighter and less expensive than a typical retractable covering.

It’s also got some pretty cool computer animation of everything inside and out of the new sports and entertainment complex. But the thing that caught my attention was what I had pointed out last February: AEG is making a play for the Winter Classic.
 
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A map shows where everything is supposed to fit, complete with on-site parking. That stadium looks awfully cramped nestled right next to the 110 Freeway. And call me kooky, but that parking is really lacking for 15,000 more fans.

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One interesting note: the extremely popular Holiday Ice event will be heading to the new Gilbert Lindsey Plaza on the southwest side of Staples Center. Notice anything odd? Hey, that ice rink is practically the same size as a regulation NHL rink! (No, I’m not saying they are going to hold the Winter Classic off Figueroa.) But that rink is pretty huge compared to the tiny one they shoehorned in at L.A. Live.

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The video proclaims a “family-friendly tailgate for 15,000 fans.” One of the images is a little disturbing: Chick Hearn Court disappears! In it’s place is a small football field? I’ve walked across Chick Hearn Court many times. There is NO way there’s that much space to put in the street. (Yes, I know it’s just a mock-up. I’m just saying…) By the way, where’s the Magic Johnson statue?

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Then they show a fly-thru of the new stadium, featuring some video of the NFL, featuring the Ravens, Bengals, Jaguars (my bet for the next NFL team in L.A.), Patriots, 49ers, Seahawks, Packers, Cardinals, Cowboys, Dolphins and Saints (with a flying Reggie Bush). Note no Raiders, Rams or Chargers. Hmmm.

Then they show images for the Final Four and the World Cup (with a diving Landon Donovan.)

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Then around the 3:08 mark, the video shows the image of the flag above, then shows footage from the 2010 Winter Classic between the Flyers and the Bruins.

Finally, I feel vindicated! I’ve been telling everyone that if Farmer’s Field is built, AEG was going to make a play for the Winter Classic. This confirms my suspicion that we’ll be seeing the Kings playing in the NHL’s first outdoor game in Southern California!

Keep in mind, this video is just a promotional campaign to try and garner excitement for the new football stadium that they are going to build right behind Staples. This has no bearing on any real negotiations between AEG and the NHL. But you better believe if AEG is including it in their presentation, you best believe they’ll make a pitch.

Check out the video for youself!

AEG making play for the Winter Classic?

Introducing Farmer's Field

On Tuesday, AEG unveiled plans to the world of the new name of their stadium project, Farmers Field, complete with a splashy website, complete with photos, news and videos, as well as a chance to register for personal seat licenses. In one video, Al Michaels talks about covering the NFL for over 25 years and never broadcasting “a home game.” There’s even an impressive video that they chronicle the NFL leaving L.A.

In the video, they show events that can conceivably be staged at Farmers Field. From the obvious (football, soccer, concerts), to other uncommon selections (Indoor Track championships, Final Four, Olympics, World Cup). What caught my eye was the inclusion of the NHL’s Winter Classic in the presentation.

I know I have mentioned in the past that the NHL should play their now annual Winter Classic in Los Angeles, but that was always sort of an impossible dream. After all, unless there was a definite push for inclusion, how could Los Angeles be seriously included in the conversation?

If AEG is serious enough to include playing the Winter Classic in their presentation to garner support for Farmers Field, does this make it just a matter of time before we see the Kings playing another outdoor game? Let’s hope so…

Bring the Winter Classic to L.A.!

The NHL's Winter Classic at the L.A. Coliseum photo nhlcoliseum.jpg

Five years running, and the question among Kings fans remains the same: why can’t we be in a Winter Classic? My answer: Why not? And the best place has to be the L.A. Coliseum.

It brought to mind just how many historic events have taken place in the 86 years since the turnstiles opened. It has hosted two Olympic Games, the second one etched in my memory as Rafer Johnson lit the Olympic Torch. It hosted the first Super Bowl, between the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs and the NFC champion and eventual winner Green Bay Packers led by Bart Starr. The L.A. Dodgers played there from 1958 to 1962, winning the World Series in 1959. The Rams, Raiders, UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans have all called 3911 South Figueroa home.

As I watched the Lakers championship ceremony from two years ago, I was flabbergasted to see the Lakers floor from Staples Center erected on the field, and instantly thought how cool it would be to see a basketball game there. As I drove to work that day, I heard Lakers VP of Business Operations Jeanie Buss say on KLAC570 that the organization had approached the NBA and asked if they could hold an exhibition game there. The league balked, stating it wasn’t enough time to bring everything together.

The Kings took on the Rangers at Caesar's Palace in 1991

I instantly thought how cool it would be to see the Kings play a game at the Forum. But then, I started thinking… seeing the Kings back at the Forum would be nice… but why not an outdoor game at the Coliseum? Sure, making ice in 70 degree weather might be a logistical nightmare. But that’s not my concern.

Remember, the Kings played the Rangers at Caesar’s Palace in 1991… in 80 degree weather on REAL ice (See pic at right). Play it on synthetic ice, and make it an exhibition. Check out the video from this site. Even Alexander Ovechkin took to the synthetic ice on in 2009, in Las Vegas for that matter. There’s no excuse why this couldn’t work. Not sure how much that would cost, but again… not my problem.

What better team to play the Kings but their cross-town rivals, the Anaheim Ducks. Sorry, Colorado. Hockey needs to do something to  garner more interest here in Los Angeles. And since both teams are on the cusp of being competitive for a long time, why not take advantage of this and provide fans to a remarkable and historic event?

Enough of this Original Six talk for the Winter Classic. We’re entering a new decade now. It’s time to start thinking differently. Bring the Winter Classic to Los Angeles, Gary Bettman. You won’t be let down by the fans. Who knows, maybe we’ll eventually see a game by the beach…

Related links

• LA Times: Stage the NHL Winter Classic in LA? Why not!