In the biggest battle hockey has ever seen in Southern California, it was the Anaheim Ducks that came away victorious over the L.A. Kings.
The game was the main event to a party fit for L.A. The band KISS rocked fans before puck drop, and Wayne Gretzky was the guest of honor for the ceremonial faceoff at center ice before things got underway for real.
Legendary L.A. Dodgers play-by-play man Vin Scully was there, helping to kickoff the festivities. And the weather? Well, that wasn’t an issue. History was made when Corey Perry opened the scoring in the first period. Tempers began to flare when Kyle Palmieri collided with Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick in the third period.
It was an eventful evening. The players, well, they seemed to love it.
“We felt like rock stars. We had Kiss playing in the background. By far the coolest feeling I’ve had playing hockey,” said Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejov, as per Greg Beacham of the Associated Press.
The NHL, which will not go through with six outdoor games next season, seems to think it’s secured a victory on this night.
“Hollywood could not have scripted a more magical launch to the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series and this historic weekend for the National Hockey League,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in a statement released by the league.
“On behalf of all who enjoyed every minute of this exceptional evening, I congratulate the Kings and Ducks for writing another remarkable chapter in the history of hockey in California.
“Thanks to Dan Craig and his ice crew, who once again exceeded the loftiest expectations for playing conditions; thanks to the Dodgers and Dodger Stadium for their gracious welcome, and thanks to everyone who contributed to the creation of a spectacular experience for our fans.”