Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Grizzlies coach Jason Christie, right, announces an NHL preseason game at the E Center between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks in October.

WEST VALLEY CITY — Tuesday's announcement that the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks will square off in a National Hockey League preseason game in the E Center this fall made a lot of folks happy.

Few, if any, however, can match the enthusiasm of Luc Robitaille.

The 19-year NHL veteran, who is now the Kings' president of business operations, considers it a home game of sorts. He and his family spend 20-25 weekends each year living just outside of Park City in the Heber Valley. It's great," Robitaille said. "I'm telling the guys 'OK, we're coming to my house the night before. We're going to hang out, then we'll come down and see the game the next day.'"

The Robitaille have a lot of family and friends in the area who plan to attend the contest, which is scheduled for Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. It's exciting for me," said Robitaille, who is the highest scoring left winger in NHL history with 668 goals and 726 assists. The eight-time all-star won the Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year) in 1986-87.

Robitaille is excited for next season's Kings to play at the main hockey venue of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. This is really cool," he said. "We have a really young team. So it's going to be great to bring all those guys and walk them through a little bit of history."

The game will be just the second NHL exhibition the facility has hosted. Ironically, the other contest also pitted the Kings and Sharks. Los Angeles won the 1998 meeting 2-1 in overtime.

Bringing the NHL back to Utah after a decade absence has the host Grizzlies enthused. What a great way to start our 15th season as an organization," chief executive officer Kevin Bruder said.

Tickets for the game will range from $20-$60. Grizzlies season ticket and mini-plan holders can purchase them immediately, while the general public can do so on Aug. 1.

"This will be a great event for the hockey community and the state of Utah," Jason Christie, head coach and director of hockey operations for the Grizzlies said in the official announcement. "This will be the final preseason game for both teams and fans will be treated to a great display of hockey."

Salt Lake native Trevor Lewis, a former first-round draft pick, is in the Kings organization and could be on the ice that night. San Jose's roster includes perennial all-star and 2006 NHL MVP Joe Thornton.


E-mail: dirk@desnews.com