'Pure Hockey' Minus the Showers

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One Big Thing: ‘Pure Hockey’ Minus the Showers

What’s Happening: Starting tomorrow, the NHL will host two outdoor games at Lake Tahoe’s Edgewood Golf Course. The games between the Las Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche, and the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers, won’t quite take place on a frozen lake, but it will be the next best thing — literally right next to the shore of Lake Tahoe. The natural setting took quite a lot of work to pull off, but now the ice is just about frozen and ready for the games. 

“Pure” Hockey: In a year that’s been dominated by the coronavirus, cancellations, isolation bubbles, and more than a few letdowns, the teams are looking forward to playing in the special setting. Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said he sees playing outdoors as the most pure form of hockey. “Playing outdoors brings back good memories, breathing in the fresh air, having snow coming down and playing with your buddies,” said Golden Knights captain Mark Stone

The NHL forgot one thing — the showers. Players will have to shower back at their hotel after the game | NHL Instagram

Digging Deeper: The NHL’s idea with the outdoor games was to plant a rink in the middle of the wilderness with no fans. Like pond hockey, but professional. “Well, unfortunately, you do need a certain amount of [infrastructure] to support all of these things,” said Dean Matsuzaki, the NHL’s executive vice president of events. The NHL built the rink on the 18th fairway of the Edgewood Tahoe Resort Golf Course. The platform to protect the turf, the rink itself, the TV tower — all of it had to be built from scratch. The result: from the rink, players will be surrounded by snowy mountains, white-capped trees, and the expanse of the lake. 

No Showers: The NHL has put in the work to build everything needed to play a professional game outdoors. The only real difference for the players will be that they’ll have to shower back at the hotel. The “chalet” tents the NHL has built include locker rooms with medical equipment and restrooms, but they didn’t build showers. 

Where to Watch: Both of the games will be broadcast on NBC, Sportsnet, and TVA Sports. The Golden Knights and Avalanche will play at noon on Saturday, and the Bruins and Flyers will play at noon on Sunday. 

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A Question for the Peanut Gallery

Who will score the first goal outdoors at Lake Tahoe?

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