Could an outdoor NHL game soon be played in sunny, warm Los Angeles? According to a report in the L.A. Times, the NHL is at least kicking the tires on the idea.
John Collins, the NHL’s chief operating officer and driving force behind the Winter Classic, and Don Renzulli, the league’s senior vice president of events, were in Los Angeles last week to talk with Kings executives about possibly staging an outdoor game in the city next year.
The league’s portable rink and refrigeration equipment can be set up in a warm climate, but Commissioner Gary Bettman has rejected the idea because he prefers an atmosphere of wintry charm. Other NHL executives are open to the idea of playing amid palm trees, believing the novelty would ignite interest for the teams, the area and grass-roots growth.
Dodger Stadium is the likely site, but the Rose Bowl and Coliseum could figure in. The game would be played just before the NHL breaks for the Winter Olympics, assuming NHL players will participate.
The report emphasizes that discussions are “very tentative,” but it’s not the first time we’ve heard of the possibility of an outdoor game at Dodger Stadium. In May, executives of the baseball club expressed confidence in the idea.
“Facility-wise, we could certainly handle it,” Dodgers president Stan Kasten told the L.A. Times.
Added chairman Mark Walter: “They put a man on the moon. They can make it work.”