Outdoor hockey is coming to the Bay Area.
The Sharks announced on Wednesday morning that they will host an outdoor game on Feb. 21, 2015 against the Kings at the newly constructed Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
It is the first time the Sharks will play outdoors, and the second time an outdoor game will be held in California. The Kings and Ducks played outdoors at Dodger Stadium last season, and the successful game played a big role in the NHL coming back to the West Coast.
On a conference call, Sharks Chief Operating Officer John Tortora said:
“We think this will be one of the bigger sporting events the Bay Area has ever seen. This shows how much the sport of hockey has grown in California over the last 20 years, and is now very much a part of our fabric.”
The Sharks have been pursuing this game for some time, but the venue was long rumored to be AT&T Park in San Francisco due to its picturesque view of the bay.
Instead, the game will be held at Levi’s because of its conducive sightlines as a football-only, bowl-shaped stadium. It also has greater capacity — Levi’s has 68,500 seats as opposed to 41,503 at AT&T Park.
According to Tortora, this allows for a wider range of ticket prices, which lowers the average cost. Tickets for the game will range from $65 to $350, with the average price of $150.
Said Tortora, who expects to have no problem selling out the game:
“This game is about our fanbase, which has supported us through the years through good and bad times. We wanted to have as many people as possible to have the ability to attend this game, and going to a 68,500 seat stadium afforded us that opportunity.”
Adding to the intrigue will be that the Sharks are facing the Kings, their archnemesis who knocked the Sharks out of the playoffs last season in heartbreaking fashion en route to hoisting the Stanley Cup. Road teams are 10-2-1 in outdoor games.
San Jose will become the 19th different team to participate in an outdoor game, and they have three players who have previously participated in one: Scott Hannan, Tyler Kennedy and Raffi Torres.