CHRIS ERSKINE / FAN OF THE HOUSE

Ice hockey at Dodger Stadium is one hot idea

Matchup between Ducks and Kings at the baseball venue Saturday night takes the sport to its outdoor roots.

 

You've got a red carpet, you've got the USC marching band, you've got KISS lighting up the inky night while standing inside what looks to be some sort of fire-breathing insect.

Kings fans Giselle Bishop and Christina Dean celebrated it all in black and white tutus and high-top shoes.

They looked like smog.

"It was her idea," Bishop said, proud of her friend.

By the way, didn't KISS sound good? Well, they were "tracked," as they say in the recording business, their instrumentals pre-recorded.

But who cares. No one was much asking for their money back at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night, even those who, upon arrival, realized the boards completely blocked their view of the puck.

"We can't see a thing," Kings fan Ron Becker said.

That's what big screens are for, after all. Besides, this was more spectacle than a sporting event. Like a wedding where the ceremony was second to the reception.

I've seen playoff games in L.A., but nothing quite as electric as this. The fans stood even during warmups: "Go Kings Go!" and all that. Ducks fans were outnumbered but not out-beered. That's an important stat in hockey.

Mostly, it was a night of revelations.

Here's one: Hockey wears the outdoors like flannel pajamas. Comfy. Organic. Natural.

They played soccer too at Dodger Stadium not long ago, but they always play soccer outdoors. Besides, that was in August, and Dodger Dogs in summer are pretty routine.

But Dodger Dogs in January? That's a revelation right there.

"They'd be even better in October," Dodgers/Kings fan Brian Cody said.

From a fan's standpoint, August's soccer game might've been a more complete experience, for fans were closer to the action and you could always see the ball. Dodger Stadium is simply too big a venue for hockey, but once in a while ...

And once in a while came Saturday night.

Ever have those moments of stupendous disbelief, where you can't quite believe what you're seeing? Me neither, but I had once of those Saturday at Cirque du Chavez.

This is what you would get if Barry Manilow were appointed NHL commissioner. It was like one spectacle ate another spectacle. Were he still police chief, Daryl Gates would've shut the whole thing down for excessive noise. Bugsy Siegel would've bottled this night and sold it in speakeasies.

CHICAGO