Two National Hockey League regular-season games will be played next month on an outdoor rink on the south shore of Lake Tahoe, the league announced Monday.
The Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche meet on February 20 while the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers will play on February 21 at the special rink in the Sierra Nevada mountains at Stateline, Nevada.
The NHL will begin a shortened 2021 campaign on Wednesday with 56 games per team through May 8 followed by playoffs into July.
No spectators will be allowed at the games due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which is part of the reason the long-pondered outdoor event became a reality.
"Ever since we began staging outdoor games in 2003 and made it a regular feature of our annual schedule in 2008, we have considered myriad non-stadium settings," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said.
"But they always were rendered impractical because of the sheer volume of demand from our fans to attend."
NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe continues the tradition of 30 outdoor contests since 2003, with the rink to be located on the lakefront 18th fairway of the Edgewood Tahoe resort golf course used for an annual celebrity tournament.
The NHL postponed its planned outdoor games in 2021 at Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Raleigh, North Carolina, due to the pandemic.
"It lined up, like, 'If we're ever going to do it, this is the year,'" NHL chief content officer Steve Mayer said.
The resort area will serve as its own Covid-19 bubble with testing and safety protocols.
"It's a very protected environment," Mayer said.
The lake will not be frozen. Playing on the lake if it were frozen would not be an option due to competition and safety issues.