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Tahoe hockey games offer a chance at the majestic |




February 15, 2020; Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) passes the puck against Los Angeles Kings center Trevor Moore (12) in the third period during a Stadium Series hockey game at the US Air Force Academy Falcon Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Close your eyes and imagine the following.

The gentle heat of a bright winter sun that warms your face. The distant sound of gentle waves folding gently on the shores of Lake Tahoe. A gentle breeze that carries the scent of the water and the fresh freshness of a lukewarm February through the trees.

Oh, and the sweet game of hockey played on the 18th green in the picturesque Edgewood Tahoe Resort in Stateline, Nevada, this weekend.

Now open your eyes and take a moment to think about how incredible it will be to watch two NHL games contested from such a vibrant location. I’m getting serious Mystery, Alaska vibes.

Not only will Denver’s current pride, your Colorado Avalanche, take on the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday for the third of four consecutive tilts there on Saturday, but the Philadelphia Flyers will also fight the Boston Bruins on the spot on Sunday.

After all that we human beings have experienced in a broken society that has undergone a seemingly endless pandemic and change over the past year, we may witness something special and completely unique about the game of hockey.

A break from the ordinary, even the everyday.

Long before the Stadium Series game parade diluted the great outdoor puck experience, the Winter Classic was the ultimate off-season spectacle. I will never forget how magical that first game seemed, both when it was announced and during the actual game.

While I haven’t seen much of the game, which is a story best told in beer and not in print, I’ll never forget the glimpse of professional hockey played in the midst of heavy snow. The game was completely at the whim of the elements, just as I experienced things when I was a kid playing on a roofless ice pack.

It was erratic, although perhaps not the best NHL game anyone had ever seen, despite ending a 2-1 after a shootout.

These Tahoe games have the potential to be equally breathtaking and groundbreaking, taking the game up a notch with fans and outsiders alike, but it will be how they are presented, not played, that will make or break the weekend.

Do you remember only 328 words ago when I pictured such a fantastic scene? Well, that’s what NBC actually has the burden of portraying to everyone, not there, which is usually everyone. There’s a chance to take in a stunning location with incredible visuals, plop an ice rink in the middle and bring viewers something they’ve never seen before.

There are no fans, which is why there are no concerns about obstructing already questionable viewpoints from makeshift seats with big cameras, big cranes, light towers and everything else needed to bring the sport out. Instead, there is the chance to be brave.

Bring out the 4K cameras, bring in the drones and cabling, and leave fake crowds at home for the love of the hockey gods. Microphone the game, the lake, the trees, and let the scene and sounds compliment and enhance the fastest game on ice.

Show us something we’ve never seen. Make it beautiful, like sports can be if not presented as easily digestible preserves.

There’s a chance for serene intensity this weekend, and anything less than majestic will be more of the same old.

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