Last season, the NHL expanded the outdoor games with the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series. The four games of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series all played in front of sold out stadiums. The NHL hopes that the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series will be no different.
The 2015 series will see another outdoor game in California but this time it will be a battle between northern and southern California. The San Jose Sharks will host the LA Kings at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Levi’s Stadium, which only opened last month, will play host to the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. The teams will face-off on Saturday, February 21st at 7pm PT/10pm ET. The Sharks cited sight lines as the reason for choosing Levi’s Stadium instead of AT&T Park, where the San Francisco Giants play.
“The Coors Light NHL Stadium Series has been a huge hit with fans, of course, but also with our retailers, distributors, and employees,” said Adam Dettman, director, sports and entertainment marketing at MillerCoors. “The beer that is committed to delivering cold refreshment is the perfect fit for hockey, a sport that’s embracing the cold with these outdoor games. For Coors Light, we now can build great momentum as the NHL season moves from the NHL Winter Classic®, to the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, to the Stanley Cup® Playoffs.”
The Sharks-Kings rivalry has only gotten stronger lately, after the two teams met in the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In a series Sharks fans are still trying to forget, San Jose jumped out to a 3-0 series lead, only to lose the series to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings.
“California has become known for outstanding NHL hockey, which will be on display in February when the San Jose Sharks host the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings outside at the new Levi’s® Stadium,” said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. “It will be a memorable game, given the ultra-competitive rivalry between the Sharks and the Kings and the spectacular setting and facility in which it will take place. The players are already looking forward to it.”
Since the start of the 2010-2011 season, the Kings and Sharks have met 41 times between the regular season and playoffs. This is more than any other two teams during that span, contributing more to the rivalry.
This will be the first time in franchise history that the San Jose Sharks have ever taken a game outside. They have played 1738 NHL games so far, all with a roof over their heads. On the other end, the Kings will be playing outside for the second straight season. Last year, they hosted the Anaheim Ducks at Dodger Stadium.
Both teams seem excited to participate in the outdoor game. Even some of the players have been weighing in and all seem to be looking forward to playing outside. It takes it back to how many players started. Many players have good memories of playing outside with family when they were younger. In this case, Levi’s Stadium is reported to have an expandable capacity of 75,000.