The NHL saw its longest intermission ever on Saturday when the Colorado Avalanche and Las Vegas Knights had to wait over eight hours to start the second period due to the beautiful sunshine at Lake Tahoe eating away at the playing surface. (That would be ice, but I really hope you knew that already.)
This was the NHL's first outdoor game with no fans in attendance, and also its first time hosting a game on a golf course. Usually we'd see a baseball or football stadium as the backdrop, but this… this was absolutely gorgeous:
Too bad, though. With little to no cloud cover the ice surface kept melting in the sun, which totally ruined the game. Lake Tahoe's high elevation didn't help things either, as UV intensity increases the higher you go.
While sad for hockey fans, this was at least somewhat funny:
When all was said and done the game took 10 hours and 37 minutes to complete, and fans on the east coast had to wait until MIDNIGHT for the puck to be dropped in the second period.
Colorado dominated the game early, but Vegas hung in there with plenty of help from Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who made 36 saves on 39 shots because he is amazing. Unfortunately that wasn't enough and Colorado won the record-setting game 3-2.
Oh, and here's how they made the ice surface possible, in case you're interested:
The NHL designed and built a mobile refrigeration unit and rink system. The main function of the 53-foot, 300-ton capacity refrigeration unit is to make a sheet of ice – to remove heat from the surface and stabilize the temperature.
To do that, the unit pumps as much as 3,000 gallons of glycol coolant into custom-made aluminum trays that are configured on the field. Running through a series of hoses from the refrigeration unit to the field, the glycol chills the trays in order to keep the ice near its ideal surface temperature of 22 degrees Fahrenheit.
Following the placement of the ice trays, the rink boards are installed.
Once the boards are up and the ideal surface temperature is attained, the actual process of building the ice begins. In an NHL arena, the ice is built to a thickness of approximately 1-1.25 inches. An outdoor rink, however, requires up to 2 inches of ice thickness to help withstand the more extreme elements. The water used is the same tap water everyone uses.
Water is added as slowly as possible, in as fine a mist as the process will allow. Workers pass the spray wand over the ice rink hundreds of times, providing a more-even freeze and better-quality playing surface.
Each inch of ice thickness requires approximately 10,000 gallons of water. For finishing touches, the ice surface is whitened using approximately 350 gallons of water soluble paint. The lines and logos then are painted and placed on the surface, with more ice built on top.
Once constructed, monitoring the status of the ice is a 24-hour job. To help the process, a high-tech system called 'Eye on the Ice' is embedded in the surface. The technology provides updates on temperatures at different areas of the ice, signaling an alert prompting the need to pump more glycol or engage the in-line heating system, in case the weather gets too cold.
And here's a random hockey fight: