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The Unforgettable First Try at Hockey in the Desert

Monday, September 27th 2021, 4:32 am - On this day in weather history, the Los Angeles Kings played the New York Rangers in the warm parking lot of Caesars Palace.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


On September 27, 1991, the Los Angeles Kings played the New York Rangers in a preseason game at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. 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.

To learn more about the 1991 Las Vegas Outdoor Game, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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Thumbnail: Courtesy of Pexels

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