The NHL will end its outdoor game in Lake Tahoe between Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights at 9 p.m. local time (midnight ET), after it was halted due to deteriorating ice conditions after the first period.
Puck’s crash was at 12:12 pm PST, under intense sun melting the snow around the track and causing problems with the ice. The avalanche led the Golden Knights 1-0 after the first period on a goal from defender Samuel Girard. The teams went to their dressing rooms and remained there until NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the game would be completed later Saturday.
“We knew the incessant sunlight was a problem,” Bettman said at NBC, which is changing the game’s completion to NBCSN. “After consulting with our ice makers and with both teams, we did not think it was safe or appropriate to continue this game at this time. Some of the players wanted to continue playing. Others were more concerned. I felt the wisest thing to do was to interrupt. the game now “.
Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog said his team was ready to go but was pulled by league officials. “It’s probably a good decision to move it tonight,” he said.
The course was built along the shores of Lake Tahoe on the 18th hole of a golf course at Edgewood Tahoe Resort. The NHL had temporary lights on cranes around the track, and Bettman was confident the league had enough lighting for the night game.
The NHL decided Saturday morning to move Sunday’s outdoor game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins from 11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET to 4:30 p.m. PT / 7:30 p.m. ET because of what it is expected to be another sunny day.
The NHL originally moved the game an hour earlier due to concerns about the sun during the week.
This created a programming domino effect. The game New Jersey Devils vs. Washington Capitals moved from 7 p.m. ET to 2 p.m. ET to fill the void created by rescheduling the outdoor game. The game Bruins vs. Flyers was changed to NBCSN.
“This has been the most difficult weather circumstance we have ever had, and it is a beautiful day,” Bettman said. “Cloud cover is everywhere except where the sun is.”
The first sign of trouble came when the Flyers and Bruins had their outdoor practice Saturday morning moved inside the South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena. According to Flyers coach Alain Vigneault, the move was made to preserve the quality of the ice, as after two practices on Friday it was in poor condition.
With the sun shining on the court, the players and officials appeared to stumble over the ruts during the first period. The snow that covered the golf course near the track had melted considerably since the morning, when South Lake Tahoe had 2-5 inches of snow overnight.
The NHL announced contingency plans before the game if there were “unplayable weather conditions.” Among them: That the match will be considered “official” once two periods have been played, and the team leading when play is stopped will be declared the winner.
If the score is tied when play is stopped after two periods, each team will be awarded a point in the rankings and the winner will be determined by shootout. That shooting would take place immediately after the game was stopped at the Lake Tahoe track; or, if conditions don’t allow, at Denver’s Ball Arena on February 22, before the regularly scheduled game between the Golden Knights and Avalanche.