As hard as Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards tries to visualize what the scene will look like at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25 for the first installment of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, he realizes there's simply nothing he's ever been a part of that would even compare. Seriously, how can a guy who grew up in Kenora, Ontario, where a typical January consists of single-digit (Fahrenheit) temperatures and snow on more than half the days, visualize what an outdoor hockey game will be like under a Southern California sky, amid swaying palm trees and attended by people wearing board shorts and Reefs? "This is almost going to be like playing hockey outside in the summertime in Kenora because that's almost what the temperature would be," Richards told NHL.com. "Maybe a little bit cooler. It'll be unique." Richards got the NHL's outdoor experience on Jan. 1, 2010, as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers when they visited the Boston Bruins in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park. The atmosphere that day brought him back to his youth in Kenora, playing outside with snow falling, feeling the cold air in his lungs, seeing his breath and layering up to stay warm. None of that will be, or at least should be, present when Richards goes back outdoors for the Kings' game against the Anaheim Ducks at Dodger Stadium. That's what makes the upcoming event so intriguing to Richards. "It's funny because you get those images when you're playing in the Winter Classic in Boston of when you used to play as a kid, having the snow around the rink, shoveling it over, like they had in Boston around the rink almost giving that image," Richards said. "I remember walking out and seeing the snow, being outside. This will be like playing ball hockey or broom ball on the outdoor rink with your buddies in the summer. I don't know if it'll be shorts and T-shirt weather, but it'll be pretty warm going to the rink in the afternoon." Richards recalls his excitement and anticipation leading up to the Winter Classic four years ago. He said that excitement and anticipation is amped up even more as he thinks about the game at Dodger Stadium.
Kings' Richards eager to try warm-weather hockey
NHL.com | Nov 16