Sunday, January 26, 2014

NHL Stadium Series at Dodger Stadium a Rock 'n Rollin' success

The players lined up at center ice for the National Anthem.
I have been to Dodger Stadium many times in my life, but never have I been left in such awe by it as I was last night.

The NHL Stadium Series in Los Angeles was more Hollywood than Hollywood, making for a spectacular Saturday night.

From the moment, my dad, my uncle and I stepped out of the car, we could tell that this game was going to be like nothing we had ever experienced before. Orange and black jerseys were everywhere, the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings rivalry in the air, with little to no Dodger Blue to be found.

The parking lot was buzzing with activity, as cars filed in from every direction, and people were roaming about the pregame festivities going on in a sectioned off area of the lot. We arrived at the stadium around 5 p.m., and decided to go check out these festivities, but the line to get in was seemingly endless, so we skipped out on this to explore the stadium instead.

As we walked up to the Loge entrance, we passed by the left field bullpen, which was fenced off due to the ongoing construction. A lot of work remains before that renovation is finished.

Inside, the lines to get anything from the concession or souvenir stands were crazy. We stood in line for 45 minutes to purchase some Stadium Series gear, but it was worth the wait.

The sightlines from our seats in Loge were perfect. As the above photo shows, we were in between third base and home plate, with a great view of all the action. I could not have asked for anything better.

I spent a lot of time just looking out at the field and marveling at all the activity going on. It was beautiful and glorious. Dodger Stadium was the perfect place for this event. The first ever outdoor NHL game in California. The stadium was sold out and the weather was fantastic. It only made sense that it was here.

The Hollywood/Los Angeles atmosphere was bit overdone, but is that not what Hollywood is best known for? Overdoing the special effects?

There were people playing beach volleyball in left field. There was a set of palm trees in center that were flanked by giant Kings and Ducks logos that shot off fireworks. Kids played street hockey in the infield.

KISS jammed on the concert stage in right field. They performed twice, once before the game and during the first intermission, which was cool and eccentric, but felt like a gimmick. They made sure to promote their Arena Football League team by asking fans to buy season tickets.

On a stage at home plate, Jordin Sparks performed the National Anthem and Five for Fighting played during the second intermission.

Vin Scully and Bob Miller introduce Wayne Gretzky.
Celebrities were abound, as were some Dodgers. I saw Brian Wilson walking around on the field before the game, while Yasiel Puig, Tommy Lasorda, and Fernando Valenzuela were shown on the jumbotron during the game.

However, the best moment of the night came when Hall of Fame broadcasters Vin Scully and Bob Miller introduced NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky.

Soon after, the game was underway, but not before Scully declared "It's time for...NHL hockey!"

The puck was dropped and it was not long before the Ducks scored the first goal on their way to a 3-0 shutout. The Kings had plenty of chances to score as they out shot the Ducks by 15, but as my uncle said, "It's about quality over quantity." Ducks' goaltender Jonas Hiller played a heck of a game.

I left Dodger Stadium last night with more than just a bag of souvenirs. I left with an experience that I will never forget. It is unknown if anything like this will ever happen again, although I would not bet against it, given the night's success. Regardless, the magic of this phenomenal event only added to the ever-growing legend that is Dodger Stadium.

Photo credits: Jason Drantch, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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