Updated January 1, 2021 - 11:45 am
The Golden Knights will feel the wind in their hair and the frost on their faces while playing outdoors next month.
The game against Colorado on Feb. 20 will take place at Lake Tahoe as part of the NHL’s “Outdoor Weekend,” a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed Friday.
The news was first reported by Sportsnet in Canada.
Edgewood Tahoe Resort in Stateline, which is home to the American Century Celebrity Championship golf tournament, is hosting the event. The rink reportedly is being built near the 16th, 17th and 18th holes of the golf course, with the lakefront serving as a backdrop.
A Knights spokesperson referred all questions about the event to the league office, which did not comment.
A representative at Edgewood Tahoe Resort said the property’s marketing and public relations team was out of the office.
The Knights’ Saturday matchup against the Avalanche, which was originally scheduled as a Colorado home game, will be televised nationally on NBC, KSNV-3 locally.
Boston and Philadelphia are scheduled to play outdoors at Lake Tahoe the following day on NBC, according to the report.
There is a three-day break on the schedule prior to the Knights and Avalanche facing off for the third of four consecutive games between the clubs.
The Knights did not play in an outdoor game in their first three seasons. Colorado hosted Los Angeles in the NHL Stadium Series on Feb. 15 at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium, losing 3-1 to the Kings.
Fans will not be permitted at the game, with attendance at Edgewood Tahoe Resort limited to the team’s traveling parties along with production and game management staff.
The NHL has played 30 regular-season outdoor games since 2003 with venues ranging from Fenway Park to Wrigley Field and Notre Dame’s football stadium to Cotton Bowl last year. Not all of the games have been played in frigid temperatures, but the average temperature for Stateline on Feb. 20 is a high of 44 degrees and a low of 18; last Feb. 20, it was 49/22 degrees.
The scene is expected to be reminiscent of the 1999 film “Mystery, Alaska,” in which the New York Rangers are flown to a remote northern outpost to play an outdoor exhibition game against residents of the small town.
The two outdoor games would help replace the loss of the Winter Classic, the league’s annual outdoor spectacle that has taken place on New Year’s Day since its inception in 2008.
The coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of that game between the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues at Target Field in Minneapolis.
The 56-game season is set to begin Jan. 13 around the league, while the Knights open Jan. 14 against Anaheim at T-Mobile Arena.
The NHL is using the abbreviated season to experiment with new ideas. It previously looked at holding outdoor games in Lake Louise, Alberta, and Park City, Utah, but ran into problems, according to Sportsnet.