Kings-Ducks at Dodger Stadium won't be a hockey first for LA

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The National Hockey League made it official today and announced that Dodger Stadium will host an outdoor game between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks next January 25. The Saturday game will have a 7 p.m. start. Such mid-winter stadium games have been huge crowd favorites in colder hockey cities. The Kings have played at least one pre-season game outdoors in Las Vegas, but holding a regular season game outside in the sunbelt will be new to the NHL.

Outdoor hockey, though, used to be routine at one rink in Los Angeles. Even the NHL's famed Montreal Canadiens played there at least once. In April 1943, Les Canadiens were barnstorming [icestorming?] a series of matches to raise money for war efforts. They played at least twice at the Tropical Ice Gardens, an alpine-themed outdoor ice rink that opened in Westwood Village in 1938. Tropical Ice Gardens was the home rink of the UCLA hockey team. The rink, located on the southwest corner of today's Weyburn and Gayley avenues, operated year-round and seated close to 10,000. It closed in October 1949 after the Veterans Administration deeded the land to UCLA for postwar expansion. The rink was demolished over the objections of Westwood residents. Some accounts online suggest the Tropical Ice Gardens burned down, but they may mean Hollywood's Polar Palace, which burned down in 1963, according to the LA Times.

Tonight's games: The Kings came from behind to beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3, and tie their Stanley Cup playoffs series at 2 wins apiece. The Ducks lost 3-2 in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings and are also tied at two wins each.

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All photos in the Los Angeles Public Library online collection. The top photo, showing the rink in relation to Westwood Village landmarks such as the Fox Village theater, at left, is by Herman Schutheis.


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