The NHL is reportedly California dreamin’ about bringing another outdoor game to the Golden State next season.
The San Jose Sharks are expected to host an outdoor game next season, according to CSNBayArea.com, citing multiple sources. No specific venue has been decided, but there are a couple of early options. The San Francisco Giants’ home field, AT&T Park, and the San Francisco 49ers’ new stadium, Levi’s Stadium, are both in the running, according to the CSN report.
The Sharks’ opponent is yet to be decided. Judging by the league’s history of outdoor games, though, it’s probably safe to assume that the Sharks would host a Western Conference rival.
Outdoor hockey descended upon California this past season as part of the NHL’s wildly successful “Stadium Series,” as the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks added a new wrinkle to their rivalry when they faced off at Dodger Stadium in January. That game was seen live by more than 54,000 fans at the historic ballpark.
The league hasn’t committed to a set number of outdoor games next season after holding six during the 2013-14 season. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said the NHL probably won’t have six games next year, but it’s tough to deny their success.
“Our teams and our fans are telling us they can’t get enough of them,” Bettman said last month prior to a Boston Bruins-Montreal Canadiens playoff game. “We play to something like 350,000 people; in the six games all the stadiums were full. It’s been great.
“If you’re a team that’s participated in one or hosted one, you’re also telling me that you don’t want to wait ten or fifteen years to get another. So, when you look at the games and how well they were received and attended, and the attention and the popularity, I don’t think we’ve done too many.”