The worst-kept secret in hockey is officially an open one. On February 21st, 2015, the San Jose Sharks will host the Los Angeles Kings in an outdoor Stadium Series game at brand new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. The San Francisco 49ers' new venue wins out over AT&T Park, home of the MLB's Giants, as the site for the first outdoor game in Sharks history.
AT&T Park would have produced prettier sightlines but, ultimately, when you strip away the novelty and nostalgia, these games are about making the league money (which isn't necessarily a bad thing considering more hockey-related revenue equals a higher salary cap ceiling). Levi's Stadium seats about 27,000 more people than AT&T Park and, particularly with the potential for Kings fans traveling up to the Bay Area, a full house is probably expected. That makes for significant added revenue and, along with the stadium's greater proximity to SAP Center and the bulk of the Sharks' fanbase, was probably one of the deciding factors in picking it over the Giants' ballpark.
After playing a league record six outdoor regular season games last season, the NHL is slated to scale that number back to two for the coming year with the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks' Winter Classic date the one other contest set to be played outdoors. The Sharks will become the 14th team to host an outdoor regular season game in league history while the Kings will be appearing in their second outdoor game in as many seasons following their loss to the Anaheim Ducks at Dodger Stadium earlier this year.
It's finally official and now we can move on to discussing more important things, like what the Sharks are going to wear. I'll cast my vote for vintage California Golden Seals gear, complete with white skates.