STATELINE, Nev. — Vegas captain Mark Stone has never been to Lake Tahoe, but he has watched the celebrity golf tournament many times on TV. He has seen the region through national television broadcasts and is excited to see it for himself during practice on Friday.
Stone was part of a conference Zoom call Monday to discuss playing outdoors at Lake Tahoe. His Golden Knights will play the Colorado Avalanche at noon Saturday, Feb. 20, in the first game of two during NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe. The second game will feature the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers at noon Sunday, Feb. 21.
Both games will be nationally broadcast on NBC, Sportsnet and TVA Sports.
“Playing outdoors brings back good memories, breathing in the fresh air, having snow coming down and playing with your buddies,” Stone said. “Everything I’ve heard about Tahoe is that it’s a four season location. It’s going to be a pretty cool scene with all the surrounding mountains. I’m just excited for the first practice to take it all in. It’s almost like we’re gonna be away from civilization for two days.”
Stone’s teammate, forward Jonathan Marchessault, is also thrilled to be heading about eight hours north from Las Vegas to play in Northern Nevada.
“We can’t wait to get there and get it started,” he said. “My favorite memories from childhood are packing a lunch and coming home nine hours later after playing all day with my friends.”
Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog says playing outdoors is the most pure form of playing hockey.
“We grew up playing on frozen lakes and to do it at the highest level is pretty special,” Landeskog said.
They won’t quite be playing on a frozen lake, but they’ll be playing right next to North America’s largest alpine lake and maybe the most well known lake in the country. The rink is nearly finished and is situated on the 18th fairway at Edgewood Tahoe Resort, near the green, just a few steps from the shoreline.
The game Saturday will likely be under sunny skies after a storm clears out in the morning, according to an early forecast from the National Weather Service in Reno. The high temperature is expected to be around 37. There may be some fresh snow surrounding the rink but little accumulation is expected at lake level.
The game on Sunday will be under the sun with a high near 43.
Where to watch
While Edgewood will host as many people as possible, Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe will also provide lodging for players and their families. The two casinos will also be the place for the public to come watch both games during the weekend since fans are not allowed inside the resort.
Harveys and Harrah’s casino floors will feature multiple TV screens throughout each gaming area. Players on the floor can watch their favorite teams and players on the ice while enjoying shots, slots and table games.
Fans can warm up the night before the games at Harrah’s Friday’s Station Steak & Seafood with a Penalty Box Martini and during the games American River Café will feature a “Cross-Check” combo of chicken strips and a beer for $20.
At Harveys, the Sage Room on the 19th floor will feature several specialty cocktails and TaCo Cantina and Restaurant will shake up its roster of drinks with some new choices and will also offer a hat trick food special, chicken or beef nachos, eight buffalo chicken wings and a bucket of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
The William Hill Race & Sports Book has wall-to-wall TVs that will feature the games.
On both game days from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the casinos are hosting gaming promotions and will give away $250 in free play every 30 minutes from 3-5:30 p.m. At 6 p.m., two additional winners will be awarded $1,000 in cash. If winners are wearing an NHL jersey, prizes are doubled. Guests must be seated at a slot machine and actively playing to win.