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Coming Soon to Arenas: NHL Action

T-Mobile Arena

Hot? Sticky? Need a break from the heat?

Close your eyes. Picture a sheet of ice, freshly shaved by a Zamboni driven by a mascot. Hear the organ music, the sound of the foghorn.

Hockey is close. Closer than you think.

In less than two months, the NHL begins the 2017-18 regular season, and there are several dates on the winter calendar to get excited about, especially in the sweltering hot desert of Las Vegas.

T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip will be the site of the home opener for the newest NHL franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, on October 10 against desert neighbors, the Arizona Coyotes.

The game will be the culmination of the effort by billionaire businessman William Foley to bring a major league professional sports franchise to Las Vegas. T-Mobile Arena, with a capacity of 17,500 for hockey, opened in April 2016 and hosted an NHL exhibition game last season. Now, the arena becomes the latest crown jewel in the NHL’s expansion across the U.S. Southwest.

But Las Vegas is not the only city debuting a new arena in 2017. Indeed, while the Golden Knights are the 31st and newest NHL franchise, it is an Original Six team that will open a new arena the week before the fanfare in Sin City.

After decades of lifting Stanley Cups and tossing octopi on the ice at Joe Louis Arena, the Detroit Red Wings will play their first regular season game at Little Caesars Arena on October 5 against the Minnesota Wild.

The $862.9 million arena, which will also be the home of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, will hold 20,000 for hockey games. To lower the building’s profile and create a more electric atmosphere inside the arena, the rink was built 40 feet below street level.

While Little Caesar’s innovative design debuts in Detroit, one of the more unique arenas in the world will host the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators from November 10-11, as the spherical Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden, will once again host the NHL as part of the SAP Global Series.

The games at Ericsson Globe will be the sixth time the NHL has played games in Europe and the first since 2011. The Globe, the largest spherical building in the world and the home arena for the Swedish National team, holds 13,850 for hockey.

Upon a return to North America, Ottawa will take part in the first of three outdoor games on the NHL schedule. December 16, 2017 will be three days shy of the 100th anniversary of the first NHL games ever played, and the milestone will be marked by a game between the Senators and Montreal Canadiens at Ottawa’s 24,000-seat Lansdowne Park, home of the CFL’s RedBlacks.

The traditional Winter Classic game will take place on New Year’s Day at Citi Field in New York. The home of the New York Mets, Citi Field will stage its first-ever NHL game as the Rangers host the Buffalo Sabres on the 10th anniversary of the first Winter Classic.

The final outdoor game takes place on March 3, 2018 as the Washington Capitals host the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 34,000-seat Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD, as part of the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.

Hosting the first of a series of outdoor games at U.S. Service Academies, Memorial Stadium recently saw its $58 million, four-phase, 13-year renovation completed at the home of Navy football, including two state-of-the-art video scoreboards, chair back seating, ADA seating platforms and access ramps, concession stands, end zone seating, luxury suites and locker rooms.

This article originally appeared in the weekly Arena Digest newsletter. Are you a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the free weekly newsletter.

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