Tahoe setting is ‘mic drop’ moment for outdoor NHL games

STATELINE, Nev. (AP) — Some gamers snapped photos of Lake Tahoe and the magnificent Sierra Nevada mountains as they came out for their very first take a look at the stunning outside rink that will host a set of NHL video games this weekend.

Others simply taken in the environment prior to taking the ice for a practice that took them back to their youth, when numerous started playing hockey on frozen ponds and lakes.

It’s reasonable to state none of those makeshift rinks was rather like the one that will be utilized for the video games this weekend in between Vegas and Colorado and Philadelphia and Boston in among the most beautiful settings you can possibly imagine.

“Anywhere where they can build outdoor rinks, there’s always a competition on the street whose dad can build a better rink,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer stated Friday after his group practiced in preparation for Saturday’s video game versus the Avalanche.

“Every year you come back and someone adds lights or a scoreboard. This is a drop the mic type outdoor rink. It’s the nicest I’ve ever seen. The guys really, really enjoyed it today. It’s awe-inspiring when you walk out there and see the mountains and the lake in the background. The only thing we’re missing is fans.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic restricting presence at video games, the NHL seized the day to hold a set of outside video games at a unique setting unlike the 30 previous outside video games at arenas.

They constructed a rink on the 18th fairway of the golf course of the Edgewood Tahoe Resort, which lies on the coasts of Lake Tahoe and surrounded by trees with the snow-covered Sierra Nevada range of mountains towering in the background.

“It’s a really cool feeling,” Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog stated. “The surroundings speak for themselves. You can see that in pictures. But it still doesn’t really do it justice. It’s probably the purest form of hockey, being outdoors and obviously the elements and the wind and the sun comes into play. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The Golden Knights practiced initially, with DeBoer holding a standard session prior to offering his gamers some 3-on-3 time to simulate what it resembled playing outdoors as kids with their buddies.

The gamers invested the practice day getting utilized to the components. The ice remained in good condition for an outside rink however is “stickier” and will play slower than a standard indoor setting, particularly if the sun is shining like it was Friday.

The larger problems might be the glare from the sun, wind and an elevation of more than 6,000 feet above water level.

Then there are the interruptions of the surroundings.

“During the game, I’m sure everyone will be pretty locked in,” Vegas forward Reilly Smith stated. “The key to the game will be to try to keep things simple and not stare at the mountains.”

Prior To the Avalanche and Golden Knights take the ice for the very first video game at Tahoe on Saturday, the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins will get a possibility to practice on the rink prior to their video game Sunday that concludes the weekend here.

Bruins forward Brad Marchand stated the outside setting advises him of maturing in Nova Scotia, where there was a pond behind his home that became his winter season staking rink.

“It’d be pretty special when it would rain and the entire lake could be frozen, but there’d be no snow on it,” he stated. “You could skate the entire thing. You did have the scenery, the trees in the background. Obviously we didn’t have the mountains in that kind of view. But we had a great little spot that we could go out and it got cold early on there.”

Flyers forward James Van Riemsdyk is a veteran of the outside video games, having actually played in 6 of the 30 the NHL has actually held to date. He stated playing his very first one at Fenway Park with the Flyers in 2010 and after that at the Big Home at the University of Michigan 4 years later on with Toronto stand apart.

However this variation will be totally various.

“I think the scenery should be pretty cool,” he stated. “Usually these events are at stadiums and stuff like that. Even though it was outdoor, it was a little bit more of a common thing that we’re all generally used to. I know for this one, being on the golf course there will be way different and a totally different vibe in that sense. That’ll make this one special and definitely memorable.”

NOTES: Landeskog, F Tyson Jost, D Samuel Girard and G Hunter Miska have actually been cleared to return from the COVID-19 list for Colorado, although Miska didn’t make the journey. … Avalanche D Cale Makar (upper body) will be a game-time choice. … Marc-Andre Fleury will begin in objective for Vegas.

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.