Keeping alive the tradition of outdoor hockey in the American Hockey League, two clubs new to the league will host a game outside from Sacramento.
The two teams will be the Stockton Heat and the Bakersfield Condors, two new teams from the league’s California expansion. They will play a regular season contest on Friday, December 18th from Raley Field in Sacramento.
The Heat, the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames, were formerly the Adirondack Flames while the Condors are the affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers and used to be located in Oklahoma City. Both cities are the hosts of former ECHL teams and are AHL affiliates for the first time.
There are five new teams in the AHL this season thanks to the California expansion. The others are Ontario, San Jose, and San Diego, all of which are affiliates of west coast NHL teams.
“This event will be a special showcase for our Pacific Division in its inaugural season,” said David Andrews, AHL President and Chief Executive Officer, in a league press release.. “We look forward to this celebration of hockey outdoors and to sharing the experience with the terrific hockey fans in Northern California.”
Also from the press release:
"The concept and mission of the Golden State Hockey Rush is to provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for fans to actively participate in a number of hockey- and winter-themed events. In addition to the game between the Heat and the Condors, which is set for 7:30 p.m. PT on Dec. 18, the “Biggest Show on Snow” will include a number of other attractions, including the “Monster Ice Slide,” public holiday skating, theme nights with Entercom Communications radio stations, Santa Claus picture opportunities, rides, arts and crafts, a Christmas tree lot, and much more. Also, amateur teams from all levels and from across California will be participating in the first-ever Golden State Hockey Rush Holiday Tournament."
The AHL have been playing outdoor games since 2010 when the Syracuse Crunch hosted the Binghampton Senators. Since then, they have played six additional outdoor games, all of them being located on the east coast, with the exception of Detroit.
The NHL has attempted outdoor games on the west coast over the past few seasons, including games in San Francisco for the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings hosted a game at Dodger Stadium.
It was recently announced that the California AHL teams would be playing less games than other teams in the league as well while the league integrates and involves the new clubs more.