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Tuesday, December 21, 2010
NHL ice guru ready to transform Heinz Field

By Sarah Goldstein

Winter Classic Truck
Dan Craig found the perfect spot in Bristol, Conn., to build his next outdoor rink.

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.

Winter Classic Truck
Dan Craig is in high demand for interviews at the Winter Classic every year, but he is busy with an important job.
"We haven't pushed the limits yet," Craig said.

"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 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.

Winter Classic Truck
While the matchup of Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby adds to the excitement, the Jan. 1 game is always the game of the year, according to Craig.
Winter Classic Truck
The equipment that will be used at Heinz Field is the same that you would find in any NHL arena.
Craig said they haven't even begun to test the limits of the truck, so they have no idea how warm the weather could be and still be able to play outside.
Winter Classic Truck
If you are heading to Pittsburgh, watch out for a convoy of 12 tractor-trailers heading to Heinz Field.