How the NHL made the Lake Tahoe outdoor games happen – the athletic


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STATELINE, Nevada – Last fall, as the NHL began to cancel and postpone its major regular season events, Steve Mayer’s mind got to work. As the head of NHL content, Mayer oversees league events, and he wanted to find a way to host his next iconic game, although it wouldn’t be prudent to produce large numbers of fans like the All-Star Game, Stadium Series, Heritage Classic or Winter Classic.

Instead of thinking about something new, he reverted to an old idea: to host an away game in a scenic location rather than an NFL or MLB stadium. The league had previously considered playing on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in 2016, and although local officials rejected the plan, Mayer remained excited about the concept of hosting a game somewhere special but unrelated to the sport.

This winter gave him the opportunity to put his vision into action.

“We could make a game that would be memorable and, frankly, sensational,” Mayer recalled thinking after the Winter Classic and All-Star Game were canceled in October. “This is what we expect from our major events, from our signature events. We said, “Let’s think about making the game without fans, the game in nature.

“Let’s find an amazing place. “

Enter Lake Tahoe.

The league will host two games this weekend at the 18th hole of the Edgewood Tahoe Resort golf course in Stateline, on the southeast corner of Lake Tahoe, just above the California-Nevada border. The league has built the rink by the lake and mountains are looming in the distance. The trees dominate the ice.

“It’s a drop-the-mic type outdoor rink,” said Vegas coach Peter DeBoer, whose team will face the Avalanche on Saturday before the Flyers and Bruins play on Sunday. “It is the most beautiful I have ever seen.

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