For the second straight season, the NHL’s Coors Light Stadium Series is heading to California.
The League announced Wednesday that the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings will meet outdoors on Feb. 21 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. The $1.2 billion facility is the San Francisco 49ers’ new home and can seat about 68,500 fans for football.
The Stanley Cup champion Kings took part in a Stadium Series game last January when they fell 3-0 to Anaheim Ducks before 54,099 fans at L.A.’s Dodger Stadium. The Sharks will be making their outdoor debut.
The Kings and Sharks have developed one of the game’s best rivalries in recent years, having met an NHL-high 41 times since the 2010-11 season, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Last year, the Kings became the fourth team in NHL history to rally from a 3-0 series deficit when they beat the Sharks in seven games in Round 1. Less than two months later, the Kings were parading with the Stanley Cup for the second time 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 release.
The Capitals will also return outdoors next season when they face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Bridgestone Winter Classic on Jan.1. The venue for Washington’s outdoor game has not yet been announced.
Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan and Kings blueliner Jeff Schultz both played for the Capitals in the 2011 Winter Classic from Pittsburgh.
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NO.1 PICK EKBLAD INJURED
First overall pick Aaron Ekblad suffered a concussion Tuesday at Hockey Canada's summer development camp for the 2015 World Junior Championships, and will not take part in the remainder of the camp.
The Florida Panthers defensive prospect was injured during Canada's 6-2 exhibition game victory against the Czech Republic.
"We have been in communication with Team Canada and have mutually agreed to hold Aaron out for the remainder of the summer development camp, as a precautionary measure," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said in a team statement on Wednesday.
"We will closely monitor Aaron's health for the remainder of the off-season and expect him to be ready for our rookie camp in mid-September."