NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said if the snowy weather in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Thursday is any indication, the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series game between the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings at Falcon Stadium at the United States Air Force Academy on Feb. 15 is going to be “nothing short of awesome.”
“This is going to be an incredible spectacle, a celebration of our sport in one of the great hockey towns in the world,” Bettman said. “And most of all a great game between two exciting teams.”
It will mark the second time the NHL plays an outdoor game at a U.S. military service academy. The Washington Capitals defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, on March 3, 2018.
Tickets for the 2020 Stadium Series game go on sale at 10 a.m. ET on Friday via Ticketmaster.
“We are really looking forward to honoring the history and the traditions of this outstanding academy,” Bettman said. “I don’t want to give anything away, but if you’ve seen any of our outdoor events you know they are top-notch productions. Given all that our team has to work with here, we know you won’t be disappointed and we certainly won’t be disappointed with the flyover.”
Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic and Kings president Luc Robitaille said even though the game is months away, the players already are looking forward to it.
“I can speak on behalf of the players; this game, Feb. 15, that’s been circled for a long time,” Sakic said. “We know there are a lot of games before it, but it’s the one game that every player looks forward to.”
Robitaille said it’s a privilege and an honor to play in an outdoor game that takes many of the players back to their childhoods when they skated on ponds or backyard rinks.
“Most of them grew up in some countries where they had some opportunities to play outdoors,” he said. “So to play that game is very special.”
The 2020 Stadium Series will mark the second time Colorado has hosted an NHL outdoor game; they lost 5-3 to the Detroit Red Wings in front of 50,095 fans at Coors Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies, on Feb. 27, 2016.
Pat Kelleher, the executive director of USA Hockey, said the 2020 Stadium Series will be a home game of sorts for his organization, which is headquartered in Colorado Springs. He also seized on the snowy weather to recite a famous hockey phrase.
“It seems only appropriate to invoke a phrase and term that was made famous by a former Colorado Springs resident and one of our iconic American coaches, Bob Johnson, when he always used to say, ‘It’s a great day for hockey.’ I’d say with the weather we have here it’s certainly another great day for our sport,” Kelleher said. “We’re rooting for a day pretty similar to this one in February. A little snow would be nice to make for another iconic Stadium Series event for the National Hockey League.”