It's a beautiful, sunny, 60-degree day in Southern California.
Some 16 million residents of the Los Angeles area see a magnificent January day and feel so glad they're not living in a city like Detroit.
A few dozen unbelievably optimistic NHL officials, however, apparently see it as the perfect setting for an outdoor hockey game to complement the Michigan-hosted Winter Classic.
The NHL announced Sunday that next season's annual Winter Classic will be held on Jan. 1, 2014, with the Detroit Red Wings taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium. That was no surprise, because those two teams were scheduled to play in the same setting this season until the lockout got in the way.
What is surprising, though, is a similar event that was not formally mentioned by the NHL. It's a second U.S. outdoor game—an idea that, given the tremendous success of previous Winter Classics, the league had been mulling for some time.
But unless you're an avid participant in July skiing competitions and December swimming races, the details of such an event might seem more than a little unusual. Per Helene Elliot of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter):
Helene Elliott @helenenothelen
It's not 100 percent done but looks like SoCal outdoor game would be Jan 25 at Dodger Stadium, Kings vs Ducks4/7/2013, 7:32:57 PM
Meanwhile, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period has more on the subject:
According to a well placed source, the parties involved -- the NHL, the Kings, the stadium -- are still putting the finishing touches on the details, but it's "basically a done deal."
For Los Angeles, it'll mark the first regular-season game to occur outdoors in a non-traditional hockey climate.
And, of course, it wasn't long before the first of many perplexed fans asked this question:
@helenenothelen How would you keep ice from melting?4/7/2013, 7:36:18 PM
Hopefully, the league will soon be able to provide an answer. In the meantime, though, it's hard to understand how the game could be possible.
This past Jan. 25, the high in L.A. was recorded at 67 degrees, and the 59-degree low wasn't much cooler. That same week, the high topped 80 on three separate occasions.
If those numbers aren't enough to prove that this stretch of surfing country isn't ideal for outdoor hockey, consider that the temperatures in the area haven't dropped below 34 degrees in more than 22 years.
Yes, 22 years. We're not joking.
However the NHL manages to create a rink of solid ice in that climate, though, Jan. 25 should be a strange and fantastic spectacle for both hockey fans and non-hockey fans alike.
The Kings-Ducks rivalry has grown into a noteworthy one in recent years with the resurgences of both franchises. Its upcoming entrance into the limelight is a fully deserved one, if only to showcase one of a few positive outcomes from the NHL's southern experiment.
Sixty-seven degrees and not a cloud in the sky?
For some, perhaps that's the best hockey weather of all.
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