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A high temperature near 80 degrees is forecast for Saturday in Los Angeles when the Ducks and Kings face-off in an NHL Stadium Series match-up at Dodger Stadium -- mid-summer baseball weather that presents a new set of variables for the crew in charge of maintaining the ice on the stadium's sun-soaked infield.
Images: Dodger Stadium Transformation | Watch: Challenges for Ice Rink Crew
Previous Stadium Series contests -- NHL games played in outdoor stadiums -- have included strong wind gusts, freezing temperatures and snow on the rinks. About a month ago at the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic in Michigan Stadium, conditions were so cold the crew used heaters to protect the rink's ice.
But in Los Angeles, crews have used reflective mats to combat the direct sunlight that has bathed -- or, in the case of icemakers, plagued -- Los Angeles during a summer-like January.
"Every venue we go into is a challenge," NHL Senior Director of Facilities Operations Dan Craig said. "(In Michigan Stadium), the challenge was we had some very, very cold nights. When it gets that cold, the ice has a tendency to crack. So, we had a heater within the system. It's a balance act depending on where we go."
Forecast: Dodger Stadium Outlook
The balance follows the Goldilocks principle -- not too hot, not too cold. A surface temperature of 20 degrees is just right.
Craig and his team added depth to the ice earlier this week by spraying thousands of gallons of water on the surface. Players are scheduled to practice Friday afternoon on the rink, located on the infield of the famous stadium northeast of downtown Los Angeles. It's a sight made surreal by a backdrop that showcases towering palm trees outside the stadium and, on a clear day, Southern California's mountains in the distance.
High temperatures in the mid-70s are forecast for Friday in Los Angeles.
The game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. PT Saturday. Sunny skies and a high of 79 degrees are in the forecast. That's more than 10 degrees warmer than during a hockey game inside Staples Center, where the temperature runs about 62 to 64 degrees.
Temperatures will drop no lower than 60 degrees during the first outdoor NHL game played west of the Mississippi River.
The NHL Stadium series moves to Yankee Stadium Sunday when the New York Rangers face the New Jersey Devils before the venue hosts the Rangers and Islanders Jan. 29.