Winter Classic Ice Preparations Begin Later This Week
With that in mind, the NHL will begin setting up the Winter Classic rink at Heinz Field this week. The conversion will begin within an hour after the Carolina Panthers-Pittsburgh Steelers game ends Thursday night.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will play the Washington Capitals in the New Year's Day outdoor game. Over 65,000 fans are expected to attend. The long-range weather forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-30s for the game, but since that's still more than a week away, things could change drastically.
NHL facilities operations manager Dan Craig -- who has set up the ice for all three previous Winter Classics, in Buffalo, Chicago, and Boston -- said Monday his crew will begin putting down the rink shortly after the football game ends.
A refrigeration trailer will be brought in Friday. Ice could start being made by late Christmas Day as power generators are hooked up at the stadium.
Rink markings will be completed Dec. 28, three days before the teams practice and a Capitals-Penguins alumni game is played on New Year's Eve.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.