SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings are going to take their rivalry outdoors next season.
The NHL announced Wednesday that the Pacific Division foes will meet at the San Francisco 49ers’ new home on Feb. 21. The $1.2 billion Levi’s Stadium beat out the San Francisco Giants’ cozier confines at AT&T Park for the game, which is part of the NHL’s Stadium Series.
Levi’s Stadium seats about 68,500 for football, and the weather in Santa Clara is typically warmer and drier than in the more scenic San Francisco, which is about 45 miles north.
This will be the second straight year the NHL has staged an outdoor game in California. The Anaheim Ducks beat the Kings 3-0 at Dodger Stadium in front of an announced crowd of 54,099 on Jan. 25.
The NHL’s first outdoor game in Northern California features a fierce matchup to add to what should be a scintillating spectacle of ice in Silicon Valley.
In the latest and perhaps most dramatic chapter of the playoff history between these teams, the Kings eliminated the Sharks in the first round last season to become the fourth team in league history to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games. Los Angeles went on to win its second Stanley Cup in three years.
“The growing excitement around NHL hockey in California, 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,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.
The NHL has been taking its game to iconic outdoor venues more and more over the last decade.
Boston’s Fenway Park, Chicago’s Wrigley Field and Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor are just a few of the notable names to host hockey in recent years. The league previously announced that the Washington Capitals would host the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at a site to be determined.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.