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Ducks In A Winter Classic?
By Richard Gonzalez
The NHL announced the Dallas Stars would be awarded the opportunity to host the Winter Classic, which is scheduled for Jan. 1, 2020. This will be the first time they will have an outdoor game. The opponent for the Stars has not yet been decided but can only hope they don’t select the Chicago Blackhawks again. The league announced the Colorado Avalanche will host their second Stadium Series game with their opponent being announced at a later date. Also, the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets will play in the 2019 Heritage Classic.
I would like to see the Anaheim Ducks participate in another outdoor game. The Winter Classic might be pushing it but the Stars got one so it is a possibility. The Los Angeles played host to the Ducks in 2014, at Dodger Stadium. The atmosphere and game in L.A. was pretty great. Especially seeing the Ducks beating the Kings.
Potential Opponents To Host:
Let’s start with the obvious, the Kings. Ducks fans have the bragging rights of beating them at “home” and being the first Southern California team to win an outdoor hockey game. Another matchup between these two teams would be fun to see. Both team’s fans hate each other. Angels Stadium would be an ideal venue for the Ducks to host this time.
Honda Center is across the way so a fan fest could be set up there and not to mention the restaurant and bars that are within walking distance of each venue. Having a Freeway Face-off Stadium Series that can actually be seen from the freeway would be a great selling point to go along with the hatred both teams have for one another. The issue would be that this would be the Kings third Stadium Series game and they are rumored to take on the Avalanche in Colorado for that Stadium Series game. This shouldn’t be that big of a problem since the Blackhawks have played in six outdoor games already.
This leads me to the next potential match against the San Jose Sharks. Being the Sharks already hosted one they could travel down to Anaheim to play at the same venue listed above. This Southern California versus Northern California matchup would be the main selling point. The Sharks, who are 0-1 in outdoor games, would love to get a win. Especially in Anaheim. The travel isn’t too bad so you’ll have a good amount of Sharks fans attending and other fans watching to see this North vs South matchup.
The Edmonton Oilers could be another team that could be a possibility. The Ducks finally overcame their game 7 problems to knock the Oilers out of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The game had some controversial calls from Oilers fans perspective. This has lead to animosity between fans and players. The Oilers have superstar Connor McDavid and will attract a lot of Oilers fans to Anaheim.
One more team that can be brought to Anaheim for an outdoor game could be the Ottawa Senators. The Ducks defeated the Senators to capture their first Stanley Cup. Although, there is not much of a rivalry to go on now there still is one good selling point for this game. An alumni game. Similar to what the Avalanche and Detroit Redwings did. It would be pretty special to see all of our former Cup-winning Ducks back on the ice again against the former Senators players.
Potential Opponents To Visit:
The Predators have made it known that they want an outdoor game and why not let them play host to the Ducks. The rivalry between these two teams has taken off. The Ducks have been knocked out of the playoffs by the Predators three times. There is some bad blood between the players. The Ryan Kesler and Ryan Johansen drama have the fans disliking each other. You can feel the hostility when these two teams play. The venue, Nissan Stadium, has already been looked at by the league and it is only a matter of time before the Predators get their outdoor game, so why not have them play the Ducks?
Lastly, this is stretching but why not the Stars? The Ducks beat the Stars in the 2002-03 Semifinals and the Stars would get revenge and beat the Ducks in the 2007-08, Quarterfinals. The Ducks also beat the Stars in the 2013-14 Quarterfinals. There have been some playoff battles to have a little bit of rivalry. This is a big stretch and very far from happening but worth the write. Plus, my guess would be that the Minnesota Wild will be the opponent for them in next year’s Winter Classic.
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January 4th, 2019