Into the Wild
December 04, 2020

NHL teams considering playing their regular season schedules outdoors might be the only good thing to come out of COVID-19

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Len Redkoles

Since the very first Winter Classic nearly 12 years ago, professional outdoor hockey has come a long way. It’s seen the Big House and Fenway. It gave birth to the Stadium Series and EA Sports’ beloved pond-hockey mode. It’s drawn the attention of the hockey noobs and diehards alike. Some will argue that it’s become oversaturated, that it’s lost its magic, that nobody really wants to watch the Dropkick Murphy’s play decade-old songs with numb fingers and soggy snare drums between intermissions, but the facts are the facts, and the fact is that outdoor hockey is the best hockey, full stop.

So as you can probably guess, we were pretty excited on Thursday when a report surfaced from deep within the pucks world that due to COVID-19 restrictions on large indoor gatherings, several NHL franchises are considering playing their ENTIRE 2021 regular season schedules with nothing for a roof but the big, blue sky.

While the Bruins and Penguins make all the sense in the world and you honestly have to wonder why they’re not already popping a rink up in Copley or freezing a section of the Allegheny for outdoor games every season (talk about a home-ice advantage), it's the Ducks and Kings that truly raise an eyebrow here. Last time we checked, ice doesn’t last long in SoCal, but if they can find a way to keep the surface fast, the prospect of playing meaningful hockey games on the Santa Monica Pier while the palm trees dance and bikini clad women rollerblade past is just too good to pass up.

But first things first, the NHL needs to get their sh*t together and actually confirm a 2021 season. Gary Bettman and co. don’t exactly inspire confidence in that, er, arena, but if they can get it figured out and teams really do play their games outside, we might never leave the couch . . . not that that would change much