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NHL officially announces Golden Knights’ first outdoor game

Updated January 11, 2021 - 2:54 pm

The Golden Knights’ first outdoor game is officially on the NHL calendar.

The Knights will play the Colorado Avalanche at noon Feb. 20 at Lake Tahoe in the league’s 31st outdoor contest. Edgewood Tahoe Resort in Stateline, which is home to the American Century Celebrity Championship golf tournament, is hosting the event. The rink will be built on the lakefront 18th hole of the golf course.

The game will be televised nationally on NBC, KSNV-3 locally. Boston and Philadelphia will play the following day at Lake Tahoe as well.

All four teams will wear their Reverse Retro jerseys for the event. Fans will not be permitted.

“We’re thrilled to be coming to Tahoe,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. “We were looking for a picturesque, magnificent place with a lake and mountains that were snow-covered. It had to have a location where we could put a rink where we could get that visual, which obviously is important for the television picture we’re going to convey.”

The Knights did not play in an outdoor game in their first three seasons.

They are now being asked to co-headline what should be the NHL’s marquee regular-season event this year. The league’s normal annual outdoor spectacle on New Year’s Day, the Winter Classic, was canceled this year. Minnesota was set to host St. Louis at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, in Minneapolis.

The NHL pivoted to the two Lake Tahoe games instead to spice up its shortened 56-game schedule this season. Steve Mayer, the NHL’s chief content officer, scouted the location with a small group and said he was “blown away” by the setting.

“We felt really confidently, especially in a short time frame, that we’ll be able to produce a world class event and Tahoe will be a great host,” Mayer said. “It was a pretty easy decision based on how wonderful everybody there has been to us, how open-armed they’ve been, and what we think we can do to make it a great event.”

The Knights, Colorado, Boston and Philadelphia were chosen to play in Lake Tahoe to give the NHL “two nationally compelling matchups,” Bettman said. All four teams won playoff series a year ago.

The event will be the third outdoor game in the Avalanche’s history. They played Stadium Series games in 2016 and 2020, losing both times.

The Knights’ Reverse Retro jerseys, which contain several nods and winks to Las Vegas’ professional hockey past, were unveiled in November through the NHL’s partnership with adidas hockey.

“The Vegas Golden Knights are extremely grateful for the opportunity to play our first ever outdoor game in beautiful Lake Tahoe, a truly majestic location for our sport to return to its roots,” Knights owner Bill Foley said in a statement. “Skating and playing hockey on ponds, lakes and canals brings back fond memories for all of us who grew up loving the game. We can’t wait.”

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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