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September 27, 1991 - NHL Gambles With Desert Hockey

Sunday, September 27th 2020, 9:00 am - The Sept. 27, 1991 pre-season hockey game featuring the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers took place in...the parking lot at Caesars Palace.

Sept 27, 1991/L.A. Kings On Sept. 27, 1991, the Los Angeles Kings played the New York Rangers in pre-season action in the parking lot of Caesars Palace. Photo: Los Angeles Kings

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On Sept. 27, 1991, the Los Angeles Kings played the New York Rangers in pre-season action in the parking lot of Caesars Palace. What could go wrong there? As one would expect, things got a little toasty.

The event started exactly as many suspected for a game played in the parking lot of a casino in the desert. There was a tarp malfunction. So, what was the tarp for? Developed by NASA, it was designed to refract the sun's rays away from the ice so it wouldn't melt under the Las Vegas sky.

The tarp would absorb all heat that was cast down, as well, so the ice would stay intact. However, the malfunction that occurred during the game was this: The tarp was accidentally lowered to the ice, producing the opposite effect -- it began a rapid melt of the ice surface.

At this point, there was a mad scramble to get it off the ice. It was salvaged but not in the best condition. The Rangers goalie for the game, John Vanbiesbrouck, recalled the ice looking something like a puddle.

On today's podcast, Chris Mei talks about the inspiration for the parking lot hockey game in the desert, tarp malfunction, the searing heat during the action, and of course, the outcome.

"This Day In Weather History” is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.

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