NHL Notes: 49ers' stadium to host Sharks-Kings

NHL Notes: 49ers' stadium to host Sharks-Kings
August 6, 2014, 10:15 pm
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The NHL announced Wednesday that the Sharks and Kings will meet at the 49ers' new home in Santa Clara on Feb. 21. (AP)

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings are going to take their rivalry outdoors next season.

The NHL announced Wednesday that the Pacific Division foes will meet at the 49ers' new home in Santa Clara on Feb. 21. The $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium beat out the San Francisco Giants' cozier confines at AT&T Park for the game, which is part of the NHL's growing Stadium Series.

This will be the second straight year the NHL has staged an outdoor game in California. The Anaheim Ducks beat the Kings 3-0 at Dodger Stadium in front of an announced crowd of 54,099 on Jan. 25.

Sharks Chief Operating Officer John Tortora expects the game at Levi's Stadium to attract a capacity crowd of 68,500 for a scintillating spectacle of ice in Silicon Valley.

"We think this will be one of the bigger sporting events the Bay Area has ever seen," Tortora said.

The NHL's first outdoor game in Northern California features a fierce and fan-pleasing matchup (see full story).

Panthers: Top pick Ekblad has a concussion
BROSSARD, Quebec -- Top NHL draft pick Aaron Ekblad suffered a concussion in Canada's world junior exhibition game against the Czech Republic and will miss the rest of summer development camp.

The 18-year-old defenseman was hit hard during Monday night's 6-2 win over the Czech Republic and left the game.

Hockey Canada says Ekblad is expected to be ready for Florida Panthers training camp in September. Panthers general manager Dale Tallon echoed those sentiments, saying "We will closely monitor Aaron's health for the remainder of the offseason and expect him to be ready for our rookie camp in mid-September."

Ekblad played last season with the OHL's Barrie Colts.

USA Hockey: Sauer, Rafalski to US hockey hall
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Former Wisconsin coach Jeff Sauer and one of his old players, Brian Rafalski, will be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

USA Hockey announced Wednesday the class for this year that also includes two-time Olympian Karyn Bye Dietz and longtime coach Lou Vairo.

Sauer coached the Badgers for 20 seasons, winning NCAA championships in 1983 and 1990. He coached Colorado College for 11 years.

Rafalski played 11 seasons in the NHL, winning two Stanley Cup titles with New Jersey and another with his hometown team Detroit. His 515 career points are the 10th-most among American defensemen in league history. Rafalski also played for the U.S. in three Olympics.

Bye Dietz grew up and still lives in western Wisconsin.

The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame is in Eveleth, Minnesota.

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