Andy Barron/Reno Gazette Journal
Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 | 1:07 p.m.
STATELINE — The climate was a crisp 40 levels with a breeze. The slightest little bit of snow began to fall because the solar battled with the clouds to get a peek at the Golden Knights training under.
There was even a rainbow within the distance, framing the mountains serving because the backdrop to the deep-blue Lake Tahoe.
When the NHL got here right here for an out of doors sport at Edgewood Tahoe Resort, it wished to show the pure great thing about the world, unincumbered by followers and bleachers and all the things usually a part of an out of doors sport. The league wished a TV occasion; it wished scenic views, and it wished to make a second in a year buffeted by COVID-19 to be memorable.
As the Golden Knights practiced forward of Saturday’s midday sport with the Avalanche on the rink, stationed at the 18th fairway of the resort’s golf course, it’s laborious to return away with the conclusion that the setting is something however good.
“This is a drop-the-mic-type outdoor rink where it’s as nice as I’ve ever seen,” Vegas coach Pete DeBoer mentioned. “I think the guys really, really enjoyed it today. It’s awe-inspiring when you walk out there and see the mountains and the lake in the background. To be able to play in this environment, the only thing we’re missing is fans.”
The Golden Knights began follow of their crimson reverse retro jerseys and matching knit caps, smiling like kids as they took a spin of their new winter wonderland. They usually skate for about 45 minutes on nongame days, however they twirled for nicely over an hour at the moment as nobody was keen to depart the ice.
This was after the Golden Knights had a sneak peek at the rink after they landed on the town Thursday night time.
“It’s a pretty picturesque event, and we’re all pretty excited to be out here,” ahead Reilly Smith mentioned. “I know everyone, if we were allowed to, would have stayed out here all day.”
Why shouldn’t they be excited? The Golden Knights earned the suitable to be right here as one of many league’s finest groups, to not point out being the “home” crew within the sport held on the Nevada facet of the lake. Ironically, they’re the designated highway crew.
“I think this is a stepping stone for our organization,” captain Mark Stone mentioned.
Reporters rode buses to the Edgewood resort, the place they walked by the bushes and by the lake to get to the media risers. The rink is on a golf course, so views weren’t an issue. This resort hosts a star golf match, so it was prepared for the NHL and its crews to return in for a televised occasion.
The cameras are stationed on the penalty-box facet of the rink, so TV viewers will see the benches and the lake behind the rink. It’s fewer than 100 yards from the water, so it’s not inconceivable a diver finds a puck on the lakebed later within the year.
“A few guys tried at the end there, flipping a couple of them, make a souvenir out of it in the lake,” ahead William Carrier mentioned. “It’s an amazing setup; it is an amazing view.”
The Golden Knights were the first team to skate on the rink, with the Avalanche following them with their own practice. The Bruins and Flyers will practice Saturday morning before the Vegas-Colorado game, then play each other on Sunday.
As fun as practice was, the game against the Avalanche is crucial in the West Division standings, especially after a last-minute goal sent Vegas to a crushing loss in its last game on Tuesday. Once the puck drops, the Golden Knights figure to be laser-focused on picking up two points.
But that’s Saturday’s problem. Today was about hockey players going back to their roots at outdoor rinks and spending time playing the sport they love in one of the most beautiful places the Golden Knights’ home state has to offer.
“Pretty spectacular. It’s a very nice venue when you see the mountains around you,” forward William Karlsson said. “I’ve always heard it’s pretty nice, and it does live up to what people say. It’s truly beautiful.”