Double-dose of Outdoor Royalty? Kings President of Business Operations Luc Robitaille says team to
pursue Winter Classic after Stadium Series event.
LOS ANGELES, CA -- The stage was set perfectly for the press
conference ahead of the Stadium Series clash between the Los Angeles
Kings and Anaheim Ducks on Saturday, January 25 at Dodger Stadium.
Nature provided a typical Southern California autumn day for the
announcement, a cloudless 75 degrees with a nice breeze rolling
through Chavez Ravine.
The lineup on the stage was familiar, led by Gary Bettman, Dodgers
President Stan Kasten, Kings Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty with the
Ducks represented by Dustin Penner, Emerson Etem and Head Coach Bruce
Bettman remarked that with the increasing influx of native
Californians in the NHL from an ever-growing development system,
Southern California was no longer a "non-traditional" hockey market.
The case for the strength of the Golden State as a hockey hotbed was
further supported by Los Angeles and Anaheim capturing the Stanley Cup
in 2012 and 2007.
When it was Kasten's turn at the mic, the former President of the
Atlanta Thrashers waxed poetic about the amazing and unique views the
San Gabriel Mountains in the background will provide television
He explained the Dodgers' primary motivation for hosting the outdoor
game was the ability to extend the Dodgers brand by hosting a large
event in an iconic sports landmark. Kasten's counterpart, Kings
President of Business Operations, Luc Robitaille joked about how easy
it was to secure the venue from his peer after congratulating the
Dodgers on a National League West division title.
Assurances were made that despite the fact that the average
temperature in late January is 65 degrees there will be ice aplenty
and the rivalry between the two teams will add a compelling chapter of
history to Southern California hockey.
The NHL Outdoor Game ice-Jedi Dan Craig was in attendance to assess
the venue and as time gets closer, his stress level will climb with
every day the thermometer climbs over 70 Fahrenheit in late January.
The Kings organization conveyed that ticket sales are brisk, trending
ahead of any outdoor game to date and further supported by
Robitaille's claim that only limited amount of tickets for general
public sale. The date of the public release of tickets has yet to be
determined by the NHL and the Kings but the demand from season
ticketholders, Staples Center premium seat holder and other partners
makes it likely that the average fan will have to explore the
secondary ticket market to witness a piece of Los Angeles sports
So with the expectations high for what some are calling the Hollywood
Classic, the question is how will the Kings leverage the event if its
success matches that of the Winter Classic?
Robitaille says that they will pursue the Crown Jewel of outdoor games
if all goes according to plan.
"I've believed in this market probably more than most because I was
here when Gretzky played and I saw what happened when we won the
Stanley Cup," the leading goal scorer in Kings' history conveyed.
"When we made the playoffs in the seasons just prior to winning it
all, we sold out almost every year and this coming year we will sell
out every game. I know we have great hockey fans here, but you have to
win because this town wants winners.
"This is the first outdoor game in Southern California, it may never
happen again. This is something special and fans are buying tickets
because they are going to be part of a historic moment."
But will it happen again?
Or is this a one night only performance in Hollywood?
It won't be if the man they call Lucky Luc has his way.
"I've been bothering Gary (Bettman) for five years about this game,
I'm not going to stop now," he said, with a French Canadian accented
laugh. "We always going to push for the next thing, we think this game
will be huge and then use that success for the next project."