NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe

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NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe
Edgewood Tahoe Resort, Stateline, Nevada
February 20–21, 2021
Game oneVegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche
Game twoPhiladelphia Flyers vs. Boston Bruins

The NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe will be a series of two outdoor regular season National Hockey League (NHL) games, held on the weekend of February 20–21, 2021. Both games will be held without fans on the 18th fairway of the Edgewood Tahoe Resort in Stateline, Nevada, on the south shore of Lake Tahoe. The first game scheduled for February 20 will feature the Vegas Golden Knights and the Colorado Avalanche, and the second game on the following day will pit the Philadelphia Flyers against the Boston Bruins. The NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe series is being held as a replacement for both the 2021 Winter Classic and Stadium Series games, which were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[1][2]

Background[edit]

The NHL originally scheduled the outdoor games for the 2020–21 season prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. This season's Winter Classic planned for January 1, 2021 was to feature the Minnesota Wild hosting the St. Louis Blues at Target Field, and the Stadium Series game was to be hosted by the Carolina Hurricanes at Carter–Finley Stadium on February 20, against an opponent yet to be announced.[3] The league announced on October 22, 2020 that the Winter Classic was being postponed to the next year due to "ongoing uncertainty" on the pandemic since fan participation is considered "integral to the[ir] success.[4][5] The decision to further postpone the Stadium Series game was made on December 23, also because fans would unlikley be able to attend that event.[6]

In seeking an alternative outdoor event with fans not likely to be in attendance, the league focused on natural landscape capable of mimicking pond hockey and not an in-person fan experience.[7] The Edgewood Tahoe Resort in Stateline, Nevada, in the Lake Tahoe region, was chosen over Lake Louise, Alberta and Park City, Utah.[8] This is the same golf course that hosts the American Century Championship.[9] The golf course lake was selected because actual Lake Tahoe does not freeze over and therefore is not suitable for ice hockey play.[10] The average high temperature on February 20 is 44 degrees Fahrenheit with an average low of 18 degrees.[11]

Fans will not be allowed at the event, so the geographic location of the teams became less important, and instead the games are made-for-television showcases. The nearest teams to Lake Tahoe are the Vegas Golden Knights and the San Jose Sharks, but the Sharks are not taking part in the event due to scheduling uncertainties related to Santa Clara County's local COVID-19 health restrictions on contact sports, as well the expectation that the team will finish with a losing record like the previous season.[12][13] The Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins were offered the opportunity play in both games, but decided to partake in only one contest.[14]

With the NHL's condensed 56-game regular season schedule and limited geographical travel due to the pandemic, few days are provided in between games. However, allocations are made in the schedule to make travel more manageable.[15]

Game one[edit]

The Vegas Golden Knights and the Colorado Avalanche will play on February 20.[16] This is scheduled as a Colorado home game.[17][18]

Game two[edit]

The Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins face each other on February 21.[19]

References[edit]

  1. "NHL announces two February outdoor games in Lake Tahoe". NBC Sports. January 11, 2021.
  2. "NHL confirms plans for Lake Tahoe outdoor games in February". Sportsnet. January 11, 2021.
  3. "Gary Bettman says coronavirus raises many uncertainties for NHL, including start of 2020-21 season". ESPN. September 19, 2020. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  4. "NHL postpones Winter Classic, All-Star Weekend for upcoming season". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  5. "NHL postpones 2021 Winter Classic, All-Star Game". ProHockeyTalk. 2020-10-22. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  6. "2021 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series Game Postponed". nhl.com/hurricanes. 2020-12-23. Retrieved 2020-12-25.
  7. Daniels, Tim. "NHL Reportedly Planning 2 Outdoor Games at Lake Tahoe During 2021 Season". Bleacher Report.
  8. "Sources: NHL plans outdoor games at Lake Tahoe". ESPN.com. January 1, 2021.
  9. "NHL planning two outdoor games at Lake Tahoe for 2021 season". Sportsnet.ca.
  10. Chute, Nate. "What we know about NHL plans to play outdoor games at Lake Tahoe". Reno Gazette Journal.
  11. "Golden Knights to play outdoor game in Lake Tahoe". January 1, 2021.
  12. "NHL will reportedly play twice in Tahoe next month (without the San Jose Sharks)". January 3, 2021.
  13. "Chambers: Avalanche outdoor game at Lake Tahoe will be must-see TV". January 3, 2021.
  14. "31 Thoughts: Why 2020–21 NHL season is a step into the unknown - Sportsnet.ca". www.sportsnet.ca.
  15. "Bruins reportedly may play outdoor game in February - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com.
  16. Burnside, Scott. "All the details of NHL's outdoor games at Lake Tahoe". The Athletic.
  17. "Colorado Avalanche February 2021 Schedule". nhl.com/avalanche. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  18. "Vegas Golden Knights February 2021 Schedule". nhl.com/goldenknights. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  19. Hascup, Jimmy. "Reports: NHL planning two outdoor games at Lake Tahoe for 2021 season". USA TODAY.


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