ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The cold weather and overcast skies here Monday are working in Dan Craig's favor as the NHL's Senior Director of Facilities Operations prepares the ice surface at Michigan Stadium for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Wednesday (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC).
Craig said a group of workers were the first to skate on the ice late Sunday night and the reports were good. Craig was not at The Big House to watch the skate or participate because he was helping out at Comerica Park for the Ontario Hockey League doubleheader that was played there Sunday.
"It was solid," Craig said of the reports he received. "Nothing that we haven't dealt with before. It doesn't matter what sheet of ice you have, you want to skate it in. We want two or three days of skating, that's why we would have loved to have the day before as well as [Sunday] night, but we'll work with what we've got."
The sun that covered the rink for most of the afternoon hours Friday and Saturday didn't allow for the ice to be ready for a skate Saturday night, but that's why the NHL built extra days into the schedule to allow for some leeway.