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Road to NHL Winter Classic

'Road to the Winter Classic' second episode goes off the ice with players

Docuseries shows Bishop touring storm-ravaged neighborhood, Ekholm and fiancée helping kids learn to skate

by Tracey Myers @Tramyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

DALLAS -- Members of the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators tended to some tasks on their off days in their respective communities prior to playing in the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Cotton Bowl Stadium on Jan. 1 (2 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS).

In the second episode of the three-part docuseries "Road to the Winter Classic," which premiered Friday on NBCSN in the United States and will debut at 6 p.m. ET Saturday on SN1 in Canada, cameras take viewers behind the scenes in Dallas and Nashville for an all-access look at where each team is heading as the outdoor game approaches.

Stars goalie Ben Bishop rides around the Dallas neighborhood of Preston Hollow, which was struck by a tornado on Oct. 20. Bishop's home sustained some damage, but on this day he visits a family whose house had been destroyed. Bishop recalled that terrifying night.

"We ran and grabbed our son and ran into our bathroom in our master bedroom," he said. "We got in there and within 10 seconds the power went out, windows started breaking and you could hear it come through for about 30-40 seconds," he said. "You could hear the debris, you're looking up, wondering if the roof's going to come off.

"[Stars forward] Jamie Benn came over, drove over to my house, 45 minutes later, to check on us. We went back to his house for the next three days until we got the power back and could clean everything up [at our house]. It wasn't until the next morning when we drove back to the house when I saw the neighborhood and realized we made out extremely lucky. Two streets down, most of those people aren't even living in their houses right now."

In Nashville, Predators backup goalie Juuse Saros received his new mask for the Classic and is showing starter Pekka Rinne the design. And on an off day, defenseman Mattias Ekholm drives to Ford Ice Center in Antioch, Tennessee, about 12 miles outside of Nashville, with his fiancée, Ida Bjornstad, to lead hockey drills with local children.

"We wanted a way to put more people, especially kids, into hockey," Ekholm said. "It's awesome to see the progress of it. The way our home games look like now, with the atmosphere and the crowd, that all starts somewhere like this, where kids can go out and skate, fall in love with the game and become fans, or even players, later on in life."

Back in Dallas, defenseman John Klingberg, his fiancée, Fanny Hammarstrand, and Klingberg's father, Anders, play a friendly game of pool. Meanwhile, forward Joe Pavelski takes his 9-year-old son, Nate, to practice with his Dallas Elite team, with Pavelski assisting in the session.

"It's been awesome having the youth programs," said Pavelski, who played his first 13 NHL seasons with the San Jose Sharks before signing a three-year, $21 million contract with the Stars as an unrestricted free agent July 1. "Right away it was a change for Nate, but he's gotten used to it and he loves it. There's not a day he wants to miss, so that's a good thing."

In addition to airing on NBCSN and SN1, full episodes also will appear on NHL Network and be available for viewing on NHL.com, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. The series also will air outside North America via the League's international broadcast partners.

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