A Winter Classic to Remember
Happy New Year and happy Winter Classic, everyone! Last night the NHL got an outdoor game [mostly] right. Unlike last February’s disaster in Lake Tahoe, the ice was actually frozen–and so were the fans!
It was the coldest Winter Classic on record at -7°F, -24°F with windchill. This weather made ice conditions the exact opposite from Tahoe. The resolution for this, which I thought was very interesting, was actually to warm the ice up. I’m sure a lot of you hockey players out there know this already, but apparently, ideal ice temperature is 22 F, any lower and it becomes too brittle. The grounds and ice crew did a great job keeping the ice fully usable for the entirety of the game.
The cold clearly didn’t bother the players. The St. Louis Blues decided to make a statement when they got off the bus in tropical vacation attire instead of the suits we’re all accustomed to (somewhere Don Cherry had a hernia). Later on, we saw ice in beards and all kinds of extra coverings to keep necks and ears warm during the game, but the flip flops were a good laugh while they lasted.
The fans stayed bundled the whole time, however. Thanks to the sub-zero temperatures, Target Field allowed spectators to bring blankets in with them, gave out hand warmers, and provided heated areas for people to defrost. But, this one fan’s sign really sums up the feeling in the crowd.
The Actual Game
As far as the actual game went, it certainly was not lacking in points. The Blues took home the 6-4 win, but the win can be almost completely credited to Jordan Kyrou. The 23-year-old centerman scored 2 goals and had 2 assists, an NHL point record for outdoor games. Minnesota’s Kaprizov (whose official photo is truly something) gave him a good run for that record, as he had a goal and 2 assists. Kyrou was named first star of the game, Kaprizov second star, and Tarasenko (STL) third star.
Was it the most exciting game of the season? No, not really. But the story around it made this year’s Winter Classic special.
Image thanks to David Berding/Getty Images.
-Heidi Thomas (@DamselOnDrums)
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