The NHL's ever-expanding foray into outdoor games will continue during the upcoming season when the San Jose Sharks host the Los Angeles Kings as part of the league's Stadium Series.
NHL.com made it official and announced that the game will be played on Feb. 21, 2015, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. This comes on the heels of the Kings hosting the Anaheim Ducks at Dodger Stadium back in January.
According to Coors Light on Twitter, this will mark the first outdoor game in the history of the Sharks organization:
Hockey has always been huge in the Northeast, as well as Canada, but it has certainly started to gain traction in California over the past several years. With that in mind, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman believes this game will contribute to the growth of hockey in California even more, per NHL.com:
The growing excitement around NHL hockey in California hockey, the intensity of last season's playoff series between these teams and the state-of-the-art setting at Levi's Stadium will bring a thrilling new dimension to the Kings-Sharks rivalry. We thank the Sharks, the Kings, Coors Light, the San Francisco 49ers, Levi's Stadium and everyone involved in producing the next episode of our Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.
Although the Sharks have yet to win a Stanley Cup, they are a perennial playoff team and consistently among the NHL's best. The Kings are always contenders, too, and they have won two out of the past three Stanley Cups.
The Sharks and Kings are also two of the biggest rivals in hockey, as Coors Light pointed out:
Much of the focus will be on the Kings due to their immense success in recent years, but Sharks chief operating officer John Tortora believes this game is San Jose's chance to shine on the national stage, according to NHL.com:
We are honored and elated that the NHL has selected the San Jose Sharks to participate in the NHL's 2015 Coors Light Stadium Series and is bringing this magnificent event to the Bay Area. This event celebrates the growth of the great game of hockey in San Jose and recognizes the incredible support and passion of Sharks fans all over Northern California. We know our fans will bring the electrifying atmosphere of SAP Center at San Jose to Levi's Stadium on Feb. 21 and we are looking forward to showcasing Sharks Territory outside and under the lights.
With star offensive players such as Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl, the Sharks have more than enough firepower to put on a show. At the same time, the Kings are anchored by defenseman Drew Doughty and goalie Jonathan Quick, so it will make for an intriguing contrast of styles.
The Kings overcame a 3-0 deficit to eliminate the Sharks in the playoffs this past season, so San Jose will have revenge on its mind. With so much history and bad blood between these two teams, it is difficult to argue with the NHL's choice.
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