Image: Wikimedia Commons /Eric Philbin
Image: Wikimedia Commons /Eric Philbin

Lake Tahoe to host back-to-back outdoor NHL games

Two National Hockey League (NHL) games will be played along the southern shore of North America’s largest alpine lake next month. The NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe will showcase a match between the Colorado Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights on February 20. A day later, the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers will take to the ice in Stateline, Nevada.

Both games, played without spectators due to local Covid-19 restrictions, continues the NHL’s tradition of staging outdoor games during the regular season. The upcoming event at Lake Tahoe will mark the 31st and 32nd times an NHL game has been played outside.

The rink for NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe will be located in Edgewood Tahoe Golf Resort, the annual host of the American Century Championship. The participating teams will each wear their Retro Reverse jersey, a special edition uniform designed by Adidas to celebrate each organisation’s history in the sport.

February will mark the Flyers fifth outdoor fixture

The Golden Knights will make their outdoor debut against Colorado – who lost 3-1 in open-air against the LA Kings last season. The Avalanche’s other outdoor appearance came in 2016, when they lost 5-3 to the Detroit Red Wings at Coors Field.

February will mark the Flyers fifth outdoor fixture; the Bruins have played in open-air on three previous occasions. The game will be a rematch of the 2010 NHL Winter Classic, where Boston defeated Philadelphia 2-1 at Fenway Park.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters the decision to host fixtures by Lake Tahoe was a consequence of the ongoing pandemic. “We are delighted to announce the NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe and can’t wait to get on site for what undoubtedly will be two thrilling games in a breath-taking setting,” Bettman said.

“Ever since we began staging outdoor games in 2003 and made it a regular feature of our annual schedule in 2008, we have considered myriad non-stadium settings, but they always were rendered impractical because of the sheer volume of demand from our fans to attend.

“This season, unable to host our usual huge crowds at such events, we will continue our tradition of taking the game and our players back to their outdoor roots when the Avalanche meet the Golden Knights and the Bruins face the Flyers on an open-air rink at the spectacular Edgewood Tahoe Resort.”

Golden Knights CEO Bill Foley admitted he was excited for the event after spending his childhood playing hockey outdoors: “The Vegas Golden Knights are extremely grateful for the opportunity to play our first ever outdoor game in beautiful Lake Tahoe, a truly majestic location for our sport to return to its roots.

“Skating and playing hockey on ponds, lakes and canals brings back fond memories for all of us who grew up loving the game. We can’t wait.”

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