The National Hockey League announced Tuesday that the Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium will play host to an outdoor NHL game between the Colorado Avalanche and an opponent yet to be determined.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman made the announcement during the second intermission of the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins, a game held at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana, that drew a sellout crowd of 76,126.
The Feb. 15, 2020, game will mark the second time the NHL showcases its ongoing Stadium Series of outdoor games at a service academy.
The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, hosted the first such event March 3, 2018, between the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs, a game the Capitals won 5-2.
Nearly 30,000 fans turned out at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium for last year’s spectacle, one that spared no pageantry or preparation to ensure its success.
A 300-ton refrigeration trailer regulated rink temperature, 350 gallons of paint were used to give the ice its white appearance, 3,000 gallons of coolant kept the ice frozen, 20,000 gallons of water were sprayed to create the two-inch ice surface and a 35,760-square-foot, purely-for-decor aircraft carrier provided the rink’s resting place.
Expect similar military-themed extravagance when the NHL takes over Falcon Stadium, which has a capacity of 46,692 and sits adjacent to the Rampart Range of the Rocky Mountains.
Bettman indicated that the opponent for the Avalanche would likely be announced in the coming weeks.
This will be the second outdoor game for the Avalanche, who took on the Detroit Red Wings Feb. 27, 2016, at Coors Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies.
J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.