What a way to start off the year 2021. Reports circulating this morning are suggesting that the NHL plans to bring their talent outdoors once again in February. It is well known the NHL loves their annual outdoor games to be played at some of the more historic outdoor stadiums to bring back old-time hockey with a futuristic twist. They will continue to have that vibe, except instead of playing in an outdoor stadium, why not shake it up and play at a golf course at Lake Tahoe.
Four teams — Boston, Colorado, Philadelphia and Vegas — are headed to Lake Tahoe in February: https://t.co/GDFc633pVD
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 1, 2021
This will see the Bruins take on the Flyers while Vegas takes on Colorado in a weekend of outdoor hockey. The weekend for the festivities is set to be around the weekend of February 19-21. This will not be a new experience for some of these teams. The Bruins have played in three outdoor games, the Flyers have played in four, and the Avalanche have played in two. This will be the first time for Vegas. Now there is plenty of mixed feelings about this. Some questions that a brought up are as followed:
Why is it the same teams once again that get an outdoor game?
It is all about popularity with these outdoor games. It was nice to see the NHL shift to a place like Dallas last year to expand the game, but this time around, it is all about the TV viewership. Philadelphia and Boston have been long-time rivals and are set to be within the conversation of top seeds in their division. Colorado and Vegas may not have that hated rivalry between their franchises, but they are possibly going to be within the top seeds of not only their division but the NHL as well.
While seeing teams like Arizona, Carolina, Columbus, and many more get an opportunity to play outdoors, the NHL views it more as a rating grab rather than a privilege.
How about the outdoor games you already canceled? Why can’t those teams play?
Before the pandemic, the NHL was scheduled to play two outdoor games for the Winter Classic and Stadium Series events. The Winter Classic was supposed to be in Minnesota, while the Stadium Series game was slotted in Carolina. Those were canceled due to the ongoing pandemic.
Now, why the NHL won’t just gift these teams an outdoor game like this one is because there will not be any fans in attendance. Those games that were canceled are supposed to have their stadiums filled up to the max. Having them with about 2,000 fans out of 70,000+ seats would be stupid. This is also an experiment in Lake Tahoe to see how well the NHL teams can handle outdoor games in the wilderness portion of the world.
Who is excited to see some outdoor hockey back this season? Let us know.