December 28, 2010
Roughly an hour after the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Carolina Panthers last Thursday night, Heinz Field began its transformation into the site of the 2011 NHL Winter Classic, scheduled for 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 1.
Dan Craig, the NHL's facilities operations manager, led an 11-person crew in creating the rink that will host the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the fourth edition of the NHL's annual outdoor game on New Year's Day.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote that the first task was to "lay roadways on the field for the equipment and then build the 15-inch-high stage on which the rink will rest to correct for the crown of the field."
When the NHL's 300-ton custom-built refrigeration truck arrived, it pumped coolant under the rink to freeze the water. The stage and panels, which contain the coolant, took about 10 hours to construct. Craig's crew is expected to paint the ice with logos on Tuesday.
As of Monday night, there was an inch and a half of ice on the rink, enough for the crews to paint it white. His goal is to have the rink at Heinz Field ready for testing by noon on Thursday, Dec. 30.
[Another incredible time lapse: Watch girl grow from birth to age 10]
Via the NHL, check out this time-lapse transformation of an NFL stadium into an NHL rink:
Sure, there are always concerns when it comes to the Winter Classic, from weather to TV ratings. But there's no concern that the workers behind the scenes are the best in the business, even when facing a short turnaround.
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