Skip to content

NHL ice crew does final prep for Dodger, Yankee stadium rink builds

Jan 24, 2014, 8:53 AM EDT

This will be a weekend of firsts for hockey. The first matches of the Stadium Series, the first NHL games hosted in Yankee and Dodgers Stadium, and for that matter, the first time the NHL will host regular season outdoor games on back-to-back days.

That’s created a lot of challenges for NHL senior director of facilities operations Dan Craig and senior manager of facilities operations Mike Craig, but with the Los Angeles Kings set to face the Anaheim Ducks and the New Jersey Devils getting ready to take on the New York Rangers, everything should be ready for their contests.

That’s despite some of the last minute headaches they’ve faced in Yankee Stadium. Their task of painting the ice was delayed by a snowstorm on Tuesday that dumped about a foot of snow onto the rink. Facing a hard deadline, the Yankee Stadium crew teamed up with the NHL event staff to clear the rink so that they could resume their work.

“We paint it white, we build up the sheet a little bit, then put our lines and logos,” Mike Craig told NHL.com. “Then we flood it to the point we’re able to skate over the lines and logos. We’ll be doing that for close to 24 hours a day until Saturday morning when we get ready for the first people who step on the ice.” (See more here.)

Snow obviously hasn’t been an obstacle at Dodger Stadium, but trying to host a game in Southern California presents its own set of challenges.

After the snow was cleared in New York City, their work was furthered postponed because the sun starting beating down on the ice Wednesday afternoon. That caused them to shift their efforts to working on the ice itself. If that’s an issue in New York in January, you can imagine the potential for problems in Los Angeles.

Their solution to that was to take the sun out of the equation entirely. At Dodger Stadium they have been shielding the ice in reflective blankets while the sun’s out. Its meant working nights, but the results have been encouraging.

“I was shocked how level (the ice) was and how good a job Dan (Craig) had already done because usually the first time you step on the ice it’s never really good,” said Kings president Luc Robitaille, according to NHL.com, after testing out the ice on Wednesday.

Dan Craig isn’t quite satisfied yet, but the heavy lifting is done. Now it’s about fine-tuning the surface by careful positioning of an ice-making truck. In Los Angeles, the when counts as much as the where though, because in addition to the sun, the humidity has increasingly become an obstacle. (See more here.)

These cities have presented the NHL with two very different sets of challenges and because the games will be happening on Saturday (Ducks-Kings, 9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) and Sunday (Rangers-Devils, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC), they’ve been forced to divide the rink-builders crew into two teams for the first time.

In just a couple more days, the fruits of their efforts will be enjoyed by four teams and NHL fans from coast-to-coast.

Related:

Q&A: Hockey Hall of Famer Bob Miller talks Mighty Ducks movies, Cheers and Stadium Series

Yankee Stadium rink build delayed by winter storm

Dodgers prez: Conditions ‘should be fine’ for Ducks-Kings outdoor game

Ducks unveil Stadium Series jerseys

Kings unveil Stadium Series jerseys

Latest Posts
  1. Hitchcock’s Backes update: He’s not great

    Apr 19, 2014, 7:22 PM EDT

    St Louis Blues v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    The Blues coach mostly pleads the fifth.

  2. Seabrook: ‘I was just trying to make a play on Backes’

    Apr 19, 2014, 6:52 PM EDT

    Brent Seabrook Getty Images

    His play may wind up costing him a suspension.

  3. WATCH LIVE: Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins (Game 2)

    Apr 19, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    Evgeni Malkin, Derek MacKenzie AP

    Pittsburgh carries a 1-0 series lead into Saturday.

  4. Video: Bryan Bickell goes knee-on-knee with Vladimir Sobotka

    Apr 19, 2014, 6:11 PM EDT

    Chicago Blackhawks v St. Louis Blues - Game Two Getty Images

    His penalty got things going in the wrong direction for Chicago.

  5. Video: Blues’ Shattenkirk beats the buzzer in first period

    Apr 19, 2014, 5:08 PM EDT

    Kevin Shattenkirk AP

    His goal is the difference in the game through two.

  6. Roy: Duchene will likely miss entire first round

    Apr 19, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT

    Matt Duchene Getty Images

    He’s been out since March 29 with a knee injury.

  7. Oshie returns to Blues lineup for Game 2

    Apr 19, 2014, 3:09 PM EDT

    T.J. Oshie Getty Images

    He’s missed three games with an upper-body injury.

  8. WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues (Game 2)

    Apr 19, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Niklas Hjalmarsson, Alexander Steen AP

    The Blackhawks look to head home with a split.

  9. Flyers’ Mason out of Game 2, Emery to start again

    Apr 19, 2014, 2:24 PM EDT

    Steve Mason AP

    He’s aiming to return for Game 3 on Tuesday.

  10. Lucic fined $5,000 for spearing DeKeyser

    Apr 19, 2014, 2:01 PM EDT

    Milan Lucic Getty Images

    He avoided a suspension for the act.

  11. Palat skates at practice, game-day decision for Game 3

    Apr 19, 2014, 12:23 PM EDT

    Ondrej Palat AP

    He missed Game 2 with an injury.

Featured video

Detroit must exploit Boston's young D
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. T. Oshie (4688)
  2. E. Malkin (4110)
  3. M. Duchene (4066)
  4. B. Bishop (3321)
  5. H. Zetterberg (3027)
  1. O. Palat (2852)
  2. D. Backes (2810)
  3. V. Tarasenko (2775)
  4. S. Mason (2735)
  5. R. Getzlaf (2566)