The league announced a new schedule on Monday: NHL Outdoors in Lake Tahoe, two regular-season games on the south shore of North America’s largest alpine lake against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada.
The Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights will play at Bridgestone NHL Outdoor on Saturday February 20 (3 pm ET; NBC, SN1, TVAS). The Boston Brins and Philadelphia Flyers will play in the Honda NHL Outdoor on Sunday, February 21 (3 pm ET; NBC, SN1, TVAS).
[RELATED: NHL to hold two outdoor games in Lake Tahoe]
The Wrinkle will be on the 18th Fairway of the golf course at Edgewood Tahoe Resort near the California-Nevada border in Nevada’s Stateline, Nevada, the site of the American Century Championship since 1990. Link.
“We always talk about pond hockey,” NHL Chief Materials Officer Steve Mayer said. “It has always been the basis of why we play our outdoor game, and [this idea] There has always been something on self. “
The history of modern NHL outdoor games traces the 1999 film “Mystery, Alaska” played by Russell Crowe in which the New York Rangers play out against an amateur team in the city of Alaska.
The film inspired Michigan State to host the outdoor at Spartan Stadium, Michigan on East Lansing on October 6, 2001. On November 6, 2001, the game set a world record for hockey.
It inspired the NHL, which has staged 30 outdoor games since 2003, attracting more than 1.6 million fans to baseball and football stadiums in North America, including several iconic venues such as Fenway Park, Notre Dame Stadium and Rigley Fields are included.
“Ever since we started staging outdoor games in 2003 and made it a regular feature of our annual schedule in 2008, we have considered myriad nonstandard settings, but they were always impractical due to the sheer demand of our fans to attend. ” NHL Commissioner Gary Bateman said.
The coronavirus epidemic changed the equation.
The 2019-20 season was halted on 12 March. The NHL and NHL Players Association prepared a Return to Play plan, a 24-team tournament with no fan following in Edmonton and Toronto. 28, the NHL revived the nonstead idea as it looked like it would not be able to build a full stadium for its 2121 event.
“The games at the stadium work brilliantly because of the experience,” Meyer said. “They wouldn’t make sense to play in an empty stadium. So (NHL Senior Executive Vice President) Keith Wachtel had said, ‘I think our sponsors will really get behind the concept because they’re always supporters of our platforms, especially Something as unique as this. Why don’t we seek it out? ‘I was like,’ Yes. Let’s do it. ‘
Video: Lake Tahoe hosts outdoor games
The NHL ended the 2021 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues to postpone January 1 to Target Field in Minneapolis, and the 2021 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stalet Series featured the Carolina Hurricanes. On February 20 for Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Meyer said, “It was lined up, like, ‘Hmm. If we’re ever going to do that, this is the year.”
Questions about where, when, and how security was posed among epidemic priorities.
Meyer said the setting had to be “majestic” with the lake and mountains.
“You close your eyes, and that’s what you keep watching,” Mayer said. “And so, can we find an area that lends itself to that vision? I think we all saw the movie ‘Mystery, Alaska’. … We just imagined this spectacular road and Embraced the environment and the forest, a group of people playing for the love of the game, you know? “
The NHL considered Lake Lewis, Alberta; Grand Lake, Colorado; Park City, Utah; And Stanley, Idaho. January 1 is considered. But Lake Tahoe checked all the boxes, and with the regular season starting January 13, the best dates became February 20.
Edgewood Tahoe Resort will become its own bubble. Only those credentials will be allowed through the gates. All will be tested and follow strict protocols. Teams and staff members will not be allowed to leave the field during their stay.
“It’s a very protected environment,” Mayer said.
The lake will not freeze. The NHL could not play on the lake due to safety and competitive standards. But by building a regulation rink on the 18th fairway on the shoreline between scenes, it would get as close as possible.
“Yes, we are going to a golf course, but you will not be able to tell how beautiful everything will be.” “There will be no sign of it.”
The NHL will build everything necessary for an NHL game but, by design, much less. This will create locker rooms that will feel like wooden cabins; Players will bathe in the hotel. The scoreboard will be retro.
“The whole idea is for teams to rink and isolate,” Meyer said. “There will be some infrastructure around it, but we are not building a stadium. There will be no area for fans to sit and watch. We are really going to protect the area from people.”
“And we’ll let them play.”