Sports

Kings, Sharks to play outdoor game in 49ers' new stadium

The Kings-Ducks game at Dodger Stadium in January drew more than 54,000 fans.PAUL RODRIGUEZ, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

It's time for the Kings and San Jose Sharks, increasingly fierce rivals, to take things outside.

The teams will play a regular-season outdoor NHL game at Levi's Stadium, new home of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m., the NHL announced Wednesday morning.

After a 2013-14 regular season that included six outdoor games, the NHL appears to be scaling back plans. Only this game, and the now-traditional early-January "Winter Classic,'' have been announced, but for a second consecutive year, the Kings have been chosen to play outside.

"This event is a tremendous example of how our game continues to grow and evolve in the state of California,'' Luc Robitaille, the Kings' president of business operations, said in a statement, "and it will bring a great deal of exposure to sports fans throughout the region.''

Levi's Stadium, located in Santa Clara with a capacity of just under 69,000 for football, was chosen over baseball's AT&T Park, which holds only 41,500. The Kings and Ducks drew more than 54,000 fans to Dodger Stadium in January for the West Coast's first regular-season outdoor game.

That game went off without problem, despite pregame concerns about ice conditions, and that success gave the NHL more confidence to plan an outdoor game in the Bay Area.

The Dodger Stadium game set a record for the highest-attended hockey game in California, but this game, which will be played 10 miles from the Sharks' home arena, will almost certainly break the record.

In a statement, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman cited that playoff series and "the growing excitement around NHL hockey in California'' as reasons to look forward to this season's outdoor game.

The Kings and Sharks, division rivals since 1991, have met in the playoffs in three of the past four years, including April, when the Kings rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Sharks in the first round.

Kings season-ticket holders will have a chance to purchase tickets for the game Thursday morning. General ticketing information has yet to be announced.

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