NHL ice guru ready to transform Heinz Field
The Winter Classic truck came to Bristol, Conn., on Tuesday, and with it came NHL ice guru Dan Craig.
The Winter Classic truck, which was built three years ago, is one of 12 tractor-trailers that will head to Pittsburgh to make the outdoor game happen. The equipment in the truck is the same as the equipment found in every NHL arena, and the crew doesn't yet know how warm a day it could have and still produce ice.
"We could have ice at 65 [degrees] as long as it is an overcast day."
Craig's only problem: direct sunlight. But the weather hasn't been an issue thus far.
"Mother Nature must be a fan of the game because we have had great weather," said Craig, the NHL facilities operation manager.
Craig was heading to the airport to board a plane to Pittsburgh after leaving ESPN's campus. And he had his entire crew heading there early so potential weather delays wouldn't cause a problem.
With less than six days to turn Heinz Field into an ice rink, this will be the quickest build for Craig's team. Is he worried? Yes, but that's nothing new.
"I would worry if there were two weeks," Craig told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
Aside from missing Christmas for the fourth straight year, Craig was especially disappointed that he can no longer build his own outdoor rink. Despite having the perfect spot on his land for it, Craig said all the materials for his rink are now at his neighbor's.
While Craig heads to Pittsburgh, the Winter Classic truck will stop in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., before getting to Pittsburgh.