Last time the Hawks were together on the ice, March 1st seemed a long way off. Well now it is fast approaching.
To prove that, on Tuesday the NHL ice truck arrived at Soldier Field. With 11 days till the big gam between the Blackhawks and Penguins there is a lot of work to be done. On hand for the event were former Hawks goalie and Hall of Famer Tony Esposito and Dan Craig, who is the NHL Senior Director of Facilities Operations.
Esposito spoke about how he would have loved to ply in front of 60 plus thousand. As he pointed out that is 40,000 more then what the Hawks are used to at the UC. He also said he wouldn't for see any issues for the goalies because the game is at night. That means there won't be any glare delays in Chicago.
Craig spoke about the construction of the rink and ideal conditions for the ice and weather in general. He also gave some helpful tips for those who make their own back yard rinks. For those worried about that awful Soldier Field grass somehow ruining things, fear not. The NHL will be building it's own stage that the rink will be on.
When asked about how much is too much snow, he said anything more then what came down during the Winter Classic in Michigan would be too much. How much snow actually feel was never reported but they were expecting 4-6 inches that day in Ann Arbor. Craig also said he is not concerned about the fluctuating weather that is expected over the next week in Chicago. He said he was in shorts in LA and everyone said the ice was great there.
For those curious about what tips he gave for making your own rink here they are:
1. Build it in the shade.
2. Don't bother with lines. They are the first place where the ice will go soft.
3. Be patient. It takes them 24 hours to get an inch of ice down.
4. Mother nature is your friend, work with it.