As a part of the 320,948,209,384 outdoor games in NHL’s Bridgestone Winter Classic Stadium Series, the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings will face off on Jan. 25, 2014 at Dodger Stadium.
But, alas, there won’t be an alumni game.
According to the NHL, none of the Stadium Series games will have an alumni game, which will be reserved for the Winter Classic. But the decision not to have one at Dodger Stadium also involves trying to protect the outdoor ice for the actual game in a climate where it could be 90 degrees on any January day.
For fans of both teams, it’s a bummer. Sure it’s not a very competitive game but seeing some of the old favorites out on the ice is still fun.
One of the main goals of the SoCal outdoor game is to aid in the growth of hockey in a non-traditional marketplace (and to make a bajillion dollars). Away from the business side of things, the NHL could have used this opportunity to start to make peace with Wayne Gretzky.
Like the NHL and Gretzky, Anaheim could have used the game to begin to mend fences with Paul Kariya, someone who has been clearly absent from the team’s 20th anniversary celebrations.
Fans in California are just as loyal as those back east. In the off-season, the Ducks and Kings prospects played two games and both were standing room only. There is no reason to believe no one would attend an alumni game as well.
This is why the NHL should organize a charity alumni game benefiting both the Ducks and Kings foundations. The game doesn’t have to be at Dodger Stadium. It can be held at Honda Center or Staples Center or one of the team’s practice facilities.
As for the players, there’s a bevy to choose from. The only retired players figured to not be available are those who are head coaches currently in the NHL (i.e. Adam Oates and Dan Bylsma).
Line-up for the Los Angeles Kings Alums:
Jari Kurri** – Wayne Gretzky – Luc Robitaille
Dave Taylor – Marcel Dionne – Charlie Simmer
Jim Fox – Bernie Nicholls – Ziggy Palffy
Tony Granato – Ian Laperriere – Tomas Sandstrom**
Rob Blake – Mattias Norstrom
Sean O’Donnell** – Marty McSorley
Larry Murphy – Jay Wells
Honorary Captain: Rogie Vachon
And here are your Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks (of Anaheim) Alums:
Paul Kariya – Steve Rucchin – Mike LeClerc
Brad May – Andy McDonald – Petr Sykora
Rob Niedermayer – Samuel Pahlsson – Todd Marchant
Terry Yake – Bob Corkum** – Joe Sacco
Chris Pronger – Scott Niedermayer
Bobby Dollas – Oleg Tverdovsky**
Keith Carney – Sandis Ozolinsh
Honorary Captain: Sergei Fedorov Stu Grimson**
**Denotes player who could play for both teams