Beer Me an L.A. Winter Classic

winter classic

I just got back from my New York vacation. It was hotter than hell out there. I came back to LA and it was nice and cool. I haven’t even seen the sun in the last two days.

So, to me, there is only one logical explanation:

We have switched weather with the East Coast.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, because I’m thinking it, too. “What’s going to happen to this year’s Winter Classic if it’s hotter than balls out on the East Coast?”
Got you covered.

I’m going to go put on my snowboarding gear while you read my list of Kings Winter Classic scenarios that I would love to see happen. Hopefully the NHL will approve one of these by the time Sidney Crosby plays in his 15th outdoor game.

1. Kings vs ANAHEIM in Southern California

I think this is the most logical choice. The Ducks are the Kings’ biggest rivals and would complete the image and marketing of a truly Southern California Winter Classic. It is also a long shot that the NHL would visit our region more than once, so it could work to knock out both teams at the same time.

Venue: Plenty to choose from. The Coliseum (Los Angeles) is the first place that comes to mind. This is home to USC Football, the X-Games, and concerts. It is definitely big enough for the crowd size we’re talking about. Other places include Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles), Angel Stadium (Anaheim), or my personal favorite, Pro Beach Hockey style:

Straight outa 1998.. From the mean streets of Huntington Beach

2. Kings vs COLORADO in Vegas or Denver

The Avs are another big Western Conference rival with a lot of alternative history that NBC can overplay on January 1st. From the Rob Blake/Adam Deadmarsh deal, to them bouncing us from the playoffs in Game 7, to Frozen Fury, to Ryan Smyth, the Avs and Kings have a little bit of tension that could count them as a legitimate rival worthy enough of the Classic.

Venue: VEGAS. If you have read any of my other posts, you already knew I was gonna go there. Well, I did.. and why not Vegas? It’s cold(ish) in the winter, it’s capable of an outdoor game (Kings-Rangers. Caesar’s Parking Lot. 1991.), the NHL loves the city as a special event destination (Not-so-terrible award show). There are plenty of places in Vegas to pull this off, but I would love to see another game go down at Caesar’s. I honestly can’t imagine a cooler city to make this happen: New Year’s Eve in Vegas. Spend the morning at the game. Fill in the blanks with gambling and drinking. Works for me.

I am aware that it does snow occasionally in Colorado. This could be a fun place for a Winter Classic, indeed. Invesco Field would provide a perfect scene for the outdoor game. Vegas would be awesome, but I think Colorado makes more sense. Sigh.

3. Kings vs EDMONTON in EDM or LA.

LA’s longest standing rivalry that most people can still identify with. Can’t you imagine a ceremonial puck drop by Gretzky and Dionne in throwback uni’s? Have the teams skate in their 80’s colors? Sounds pretty freakin’ awesome to me.

I think what would be cool about this would be the number of old-timers that could be rounded up for pre-game festivities. Both teams skated with some unbelievable rosters in the 80’s  and 90’s. I think an old-timers game is definitely in order and, to me, would be more exciting than the game itself. I just hope Gretzky changes teams halfway through the game.

Venue: I think it’s pretty safe to say that Edmonton would get this one, since they held the ’03 Heritage Classic, LA still might have hope. If this is the case, I would love to see it at the Coliseum.

4. Kings vs VANCOUVER in VAN or LA.

The Kings most current rival (don’t remind me). This one may still be a little fresh, but could develop into a beautiful hatred in a matter of years. If Willie Mitchell is successful at all, the hatred could become expedited. I also am going to venture a prediction that the two teams will meet several times in the playoffs in the next few years (as both have solid, young rosters), so there is a real possibility of this becoming a real rivalry.

Venue: Issue- Vancouver is a bit short on the outdoor venues. They have BC Place, which used to hold more than 32,000 but is now down to 27,500. That’s going to be too small, I would imagine. There is no fun playing this thing in a dome, so I’m going to default to Los Angeles on this one. Or Mystery, Alaska.

5. Kings vs PHOENIX in PHO or LA.

Originally, I was going to put the Sharks, but then I realized there was no real substance there. I was going to put the Rangers because the Kings played them in the 1991 outdoor game in Vegas, but that’s going to be a stretch. Then I looked at the Desert Dogs and it actually made a little sense.

Having an outdoor game in Phoenix is just as unconventional as having one in Los Angeles. Phoenix’s team is for-real and I have a feeling the NHL is going to want to promote that as much as possible. Though the teams don’t have a storied playoff past, they both have been red-headed step children of the Pacific for the last decade. Now, both teams are turning heads in the West, and it may be fun to have them battle it out.

Venue: The University of Phoenix Stadium (home of the Cardinals) has a retractable roof, so that might be nice. Chase Field (D’Backs) could work as well. If not, LA could fit the bill.


I think it’s going to be a while before Los Angeles gets to participate in a Winter Classic, but that goes without saying. The team just hasn’t been successful enough in recent history for national viewers to really care. I do, however, expect this all to change within the next 5 years. Guys like Doughty, Kopitar, Brown, and Quick are only going to strengthen the case that Los Angeles is a real NHL city capable of playing with the big boys.

And since it is L.A., we could even get Roland Emmerich involved and really Hollywood it up. He seems fond of putting snow where it doesn’t belong..


One Response to “Beer Me an L.A. Winter Classic”
  1. Dominick says:

    Interesting scenario’s. I don’t see it happening unless the Kings play Montreal or Toronto, and have enough hype for some of our players. They would want to market it with an Eastern Conferance team. We have some good players, but there just not as well known on the east coast. If we ever win the cup I’ll bet they’ll be lining up to kiss our arse. If we ever get the chance I’ll be there with beers in both hands, till then all we can do is dream.

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