The scene will be unlike any other the NHL has witnessed. Set on the 18th fairway at the Edgewood Tahoe Resort Golf Course in Stateline, Nevada, the Bruins, Flyers, Golden Knights, and Avalanche will take part in this season’s only outdoor games.
“It’ll be way different and a totally different vibe in that sense,” said the Flyers’ James van Riemsdyk, who will be playing in his record seventh NHL outdoor game. “That’ll make this one special and definitely memorable.”
The Sierra Nevada mountains will be in the background along with the splashing waves of Lake Tahoe. No fans will be in attendance, so the on-ice sounds will be more noticeable than in previous NHL outdoor games.
“It’s going to be a little bit different and a little quieter, but there probably won’t ever be another time where you’re playing against another team with a backdrop like that or a situation like that without fans,” said Bruins forward Brad Marchand. “You’ve got to make it what you can during these times. It’s going to be special regardless of having fans or family and friends there. We’re going to make the most of it.”
The NHL had to build everything to make this event work. Putting a rink on a golf course isn’t something their events team is used to after 30 outdoor games. There is no built-in infrastructure that comes with putting a hockey rink on a golf course. TV towers, tents for video replay, team personnel, off-ice officials, production crews, and locker rooms for both teams had to be constructed. Due to COVID protocols, there won’t be any showers on site. Players will have to clean up after the games at their hotel.
NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe won’t be your typical outdoor game experience, and that will make it all the more special for those involved. Who knows when the NHL will attempt another event like that outside of a football/baseball/soccer stadium. The plan for the players is to enjoy the weekend, catch some nice views, and take home two points.
Said Reilly Smith of the Golden Knights: “Our key to the game is keep things simple and stop staring at the mountains.”
NBC Sports presents the NHL Outdoor Games at Lake Tahoe this weekend on NBC, beginning with Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche facing Mark Stone and the Vegas Golden Knights Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on NBC, and Kevin Hayes and the Philadelphia Flyers against David Pastrnak and the Boston Bruins on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Both games will take place on the 18th fairway of the Edgewood Tahoe Resort Golf Course.
NBC Sports will premiere Doc Emrick – The Voice of Hockey, Presented by Discover – detailing the illustrious career of U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member and eight-time Sports Emmy Award winner Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick – on Sunday, February 21 at 5 p.m. ET on NBC.