Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau played his outdoor hockey under the lights, Kings Coach Darryl Sutter under the stars.
Growing up in Finland, Ducks center Saku Koivu played not on Golden Pond, but on frozen swamps. Kings center Mike Richards spent almost every winter day skating up and down the outdoor community center rink run by his parents in Kenora, Ontario....
In a roundabout way, for player and coach, all those memories will merge Saturday in the most unlikely of venues, Dodger Stadium. For highly paid and occasionally jaded professionals, the excitement level for the NHL's Stadium Series game between the Ducks and Kings is genuine and palpable.
"You'd play with your winter shoes on," Koivu said. "After school, you drop your bag and know there'd be a lot of kids playing. When you think about it, that's what hockey is all about, at its purest.
"There was no pressure. You were just out there having fun, pretending you're somebody in the NHL or the top Finnish league. Now playing in an outdoor game at Dodger Stadium, it's a big step for the kid from Finland."
Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/25/14 at 10:43 AM ET
from Lisa Dillman and Lance Pugmire of the LA Times,
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