For one day, the NHL experience in Lake Tahoe yielded mixed results.
Did it look great on TV? Yes, for the only time he was before the bad ice conditions – the sun turning the surface into slush – caused an eight-hour delay that pushed the game past midnight on the East Coast.
Either way, the setting is undeniably cool. Events like this could find their way into the annual calendar, said NHL content director Steve Mayer, although more consideration needs to be given to the weather.
Here are a few places the NHL should consider hosting future outdoor competitions.
Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
Originally desired destination for the matches this weekend, the restrictions made it impossible to play there. Hopefully, these hurdles can be overcome during non-pandemic times to deliver a stunning presentation.
The Great Lakes
Dropping an ice rink on frozen water could be dangerous, but the Great Lakes freeze in extreme temperatures, which seem more common in the Midwest every winter.
Some major hockey towns are located on the shores of these lakes, creating easy dating and marketing opportunities. If Lake Michigan can one day freeze over, play it right next to Navy Pier in Chicago and pit the Blackhawks against a regional rival like the Minnesota Wild. Perhaps seeing options from there for fans might be possible.
Want some views? Are there many better than that? Temperatures drop enough at sunset that this is possible, perhaps.
Or another seaside golf course. Waves crash onto the shore, a salty mist floating above. Pebble Beach is probably too hot, so maybe head to the West Coast for a chance to introduce the Seattle Kraken.
Central Park, New York
The aerial shots of Central Park in Manhattan are already spellbinding. Getting the fans involved might be possible.
National Mall, Washington DC
Similar to the idea of Central Park, see if the audience can get involved while playing a game between American landmarks.
Parc National de Yosemite
Set up an ice skating rink in Yosemite Village and enjoy the natural beauty of one of the country’s most treasured lands. Glacier National Park in Montana, finding a frozen lake there is another similar idea.
Taking a page from the varsity basketball playbook, the NHL can host an event around Veterans Day and showcase the troops. A game of hockey in the middle of the ocean? Pretty cool.
Circuit automobile de Bristol
Michigan’s stadium, “The Big House,” hosted 100,000 hockey fans a few years ago. Take another non-gill hockey stadium here and build the ice rink on the indoor court. Play the quasi-ish Carolina and Nashville teams.
No, not “Mystery, Alaska,” a movie that served as inspiration for outdoor games more distant from the NHL. But in Fairbanks, incorporating the Northern Lights would put the visuals above the top.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.