Only in Las VegasIn an outdoor desert arena where the...

Off the beat

September 29, 1991

Only in Las Vegas

In an outdoor desert arena where the biggest fights in the world are held, a hockey game broke out Friday night.

The glittering lights of the Las Vegas Strip presented a strange but striking background, as the Los Angeles Kings met the New York Rangers in an exhibition game outside the posh Caesars Palace casino-hotel.

The first outdoor game in NHL history took place in evening temperatures in the mid-1980s, despite a snafu earlier in the day and warm rain that turned much of the specially constructed ice rink into a sea of puddles.

Caesars spent $135,000 for the Denver-based Ice Systems of America to put in the rink, which needed three times the normal refrigeration used in normal NHL arenas. The ice was frozen Tuesday night, then covered until Friday afternoon.

The game drew a capacity crowd of more than 13,000 gamblers and local residents, most of them attired in shorts and T-shirts.

A few hours before game time, however, the rink looked as if it might be more fit for water polo than ice hockey.

A 110-degree tarp that had been protecting the ice from the desert sun fell on the ice as it was being taken down, melting some of it and creating a ripple effect in the rink.

Minutes later, it started raining and the top portion of the ice had turned into a small lake. The rain, however, ended quickly, and the only noticeable damage at game time was some missing letters in the Caesars Palace logo on center ice.

Classroom aid

Athletes at Clemson University have little or no excuse if they don't get passing grades.

The school has a $2.5 million academic learning center designed to help them. The facility has 44 tutorial rooms, two rooms with 30 computer terminals, seven offices, a meeting room, and a 175-seat auditorium.

Construction of the building was financed by IPTAY, a Clemson booster organization.

The quote

John McKay, former Southern Cal and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach, on his profession: "You draw Xs and Os on a blackboard and that's not so difficult. I can even do it with my left hand."

They love those Gators

When the Pittsburgh Steelers selected defensive end Huey Richardson of the University of Florida in the first round of the 1991 NFL draft, it gave the Gators a unique claim.

Florida is the only school in the country to have a player picked in the first round of the draft in each of the past nine years.

Richardson is also the only Florida football player ever named All-Academic Southeastern Conference four years in a row.

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