By Collin Insley
The sold-out Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings held at Dodgers Stadium last night was a truly remarkable spectacle. Not everything was picture perfect, however. Read our full recap of the game here, but for those of you who are listicle-minded, here are ten seen and over-heard observations:
10. The Parking Lot: In a word: horror-show. Fans were urged to pre-pay for parking before the event, but many people would have surely shelled out some extra cash on top of that to be helicoptered out of the nightmarish post-game traffic jam.
9. Extraneous Entertainment: A regulation-sized NHL hockey rink is a lot smaller than a baseball diamond, which means that a lot of empty space had to be filled-up. The most distracting choice was to place a beach volleyball pit in left field and populate it with Olympians Kerri Walsh and Phil Dalhausser, as well as a few dozen extras instructed to get down and party in an attempt to create a Venice Beach-like atmosphere. It was more like "Beach Blanket Bingo."
8. Catch The Damn Ball!: My favorite "Beach Blanket Bingo" extras were a father-son duo (presumably) who were tossing a football back and forth near the left field foul line. The father was wearing Birkenstocks (yes!) and had a, let's say, 'interesting' throwing motion, while his son had a severe case of butter fingers – and he didn't even have 'Best CB in The League' Richard Sherman to deal with!
7. KISS, Specifically Paul Stanley, Is Awesome: For some reason the NHL picked arena-rock legends KISS to open the night and then play again during the first period intermission – and it was quite the sight. Paul Stanley stole the show, though – from his tossing guitar picks out into a completely empty-outfield, to his requisite blood spitting, and finally his between-songs shilling for KISS's new Arena Football League franchise, the LA KISS who, confusingly, will play their games at Honda Center. Might a new Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim controversy be brewing?
6. Vin Scully, Hockey Announcer: In a neat touch, the NHL had legendary Voice of the Dodgers Vin Scully stand with LA Kings play-by-play man Bob Miller to act as emcee for the pre-game festivities. It was hilariously old-fashioned. Sample quote from Vin: "And now it's time for hockey: a game that will set us on our ears – a game like no other."
5. Goalie Match-ups Sponsored By Advil: Professional sports is a business just like anything else, and multi-billion dollar companies love to sponsor specific parts of the game, like the power play or penalty kill. Advil chose to sponsor the presentation of the goalie match-ups, which I thought was rather apropos for guys willingly placing themselves in front of frozen, vulcanized rubber being fired at them at speeds approaching 100mph.
4. Fan-on-Fan Hostility – While Ducks and Kings fans aren't overly fond of each other, differences seemed to be mostly put aside in favor of mutual enjoyment of the festivities. However, a few quality chirps were overheard. Most notably:
Ducks fan: "Let's go Ducks!"
Kings fan: "Back to Anaheim!"
Ducks fan: "I'd love to – your city sucks!"
3. Boo, Mr. Security Man, Boo!: At one point early in the game, the puck went out of play and into the outfield. The section of fans nearby lost their collective minds trying to get the closest security guard to toss them the unique keepsake. Instead the guard slowly, casually put the puck into his pocket, smiling all the while. Then a chorus of boos began to rain down upon him, along with shouts of, "You suck!" and "You're a real hero down there!"
2. Let's Do The Wave! Or not…: During the 3rd period a fan, curiously wearing a Dodgers jersey, attempted to get the whole Left Field Pavilion to start the wave – a Dodgers tradition. Although he wasn't successful, each try went a little further than the last. This went on for about fifteen minutes, and at one point the man tried to enlist the help of a young boy, telling him, "I need you to help me. They won't do it for me – they'll do it for you, though," and then asking the parents, "Can I take him?" That's when a police officer intervened…
1. No More Beer?!: Hockey and beer go together like snow and cold, a fact that, it seems, the Dodgers Stadium concessions staff may have not fully realized, as they completely ran out of beer before the 3rd period started. That's a major penalty if I've ever heard one.