A beautiful backdrop, a gorgeous setup. The stage is set for a Vegas game unlike any other.
Whilst scrolling through the Twitter timeline Friday, the only thought that came to mind is a trip to Lake Tahoe would’ve been perfect enough.
Even if I wouldn’t be able to cover the first outdoor game in Vegas Golden Knights history, the fact to just be there and experience the beauty that is Northern Nevada’s greatest spectacle would’ve been enough.
“It’s incredible. You have to see it to believe it,” said Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer. “I think the pictures, as beautiful as they are, don’t do it justice. This is a drop-the-mic outdoor rink that’s as nice as I’ve ever seen.”
The scenery at Edgewood Golf Course at Tahoe is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. And that’s just in pictures. When the Golden Knights take the ice Saturday for a noon puck drop against the Colorado Avalanche, two teams will skate on a frozen pond located on the 18th fairway on a golf course that normally holds annual celebrity tournaments.
The first outdoor game in Golden Knights history will feature snowy mountain ranges perched in the distance across from the lake. Giant trees are the perfect complimentary backdrop that captures the natural wonders of one of Nevada’s greatest wonders.
Oh, yeah. There’s also the matter of a hockey game and an important two points on hand for the winner. The Colorado Avalanche and Golden Knights will play for the third time in a four-game set featuring the two teams favored to finish 1-2 in the West Division.
How in the world can these players even think about playing in a game like this when there’s so much beauty surrounding them?
“During practice, there were a couple of moments where you just wanted to take a step back and soak it all in what’s going on here,” said forward Reilly Smith. “A key to the game would be keep things simple and not stare at the mountains.”
Imagine the first team to get called for too many men on the ice because they’re distracted of the mountains off in the distance; or called for delay of game by firing a puck over the boards and into an actual lake.
Talk about getting pucks in deep.
The only downside to this whole venture is no fans to witness it; no regular press to be able to cover it. There’s no doubt even when turning on the TV to NBC on Saturday, it’s going to look spectacular. And this game will also serve as a fine precursor to what the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins will experience Sunday on the same rink.
It was always the hope that the Golden Knights’ first marquee event of this magnitude would be in a stadium; maybe a ballpark in California, too, but dropping the puck in Allegiant Stadium with 80,000 fans in attendance would still be one amazing event.
This will do, though. It will bring back memories to the players who grew up with outdoor rinks and spent thousands of hours during their youth playing pond hockey from sun up to sun down. While Saturday’s game will count as an important one in the win-loss ledger, may we all take a moment to enjoy what we’ll experience, either in person or from the comfort of our couch.
“It’s super exciting to be here,” said captain Mark Stone. “This is something we’ve had circled on our calendars since the announcement. Just takes everything away from what’s going on in the world right now. We’re excited to be here, and we’re excited to play.”
How to watch
Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM
Opponent’s blog: Mile High Hockey