January 26th, 2014, 03:42 AM #1
Ducks roll Kings at Dodger Stadium, but Gretzky’s influence lingers (SI.com)
When Jeremy Roenick interviewed Wayne Gretzky before the puck dropped at Dodger Stadium, Roenick revealed that Gretzky considered this idea around 20 years ago: What could an outdoor game do for hockey’s popularity in L.A.? The Kings had history, but nobody who ignited the city until The Great One arrived in 1988. Five years later, the NHL formed the Anaheim Mighty Ducks (now just the Ducks) — an expansion team across the 5 freeway to try with a Disney-inspired name.
Southern California had two NHL teams, but the wrong weather and limited access to ice. Growing the sport would be no easy task in the sun-drenched environment.
Two decades later, Gretzky’s vision came together at Los Angeles’s most iconic stadium. Dodger Stadium wasn’t merely hosting the Ducks and the Kings, it was the site of a regular season game between two of the league’s best franchises in front of 54,099 fans. As Vin Scully helped emphasize before the game, Dodger Stadium had hosted the World Series, the Pope, the Globetrotters, Real Madrid and The Beatles. Now, it was hosting hockey.
Read more: Ducks roll Kings, but Wayne Gretzky's influence lingers at Dodger Stadium spectacular | Home Ice - SI.com