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Posted On Tuesday, 12.20.2011 / 12:15 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Classic Preparations

Winter Classic construction crew making progress

PHILADELPHIA -- When the crews left Citizens Bank Park here at 5 p.m. last night, they just about had the sub-floor for the main rink laid, and the crews finished that task when they started back up at 8 a.m. today.

Day 2 of the build-out for the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic not only featured the completion of the sub-floor, it was followed by a layer of plywood being laid over the top of that sub-floor. And now the crews are beginning the installation of the 30-foot-long pans that will hold the coolant that keeps the ice solid. If all goes well, they could start hooking up the hoses that pump the glycol into the pans.

Besides the main rink, the pans were laid for the auxiliary rink, which is situated between home plate and the pitcher's mound.

In addition, construction along the right-field wall of the host positions for NBC and CBC are moving along quite nicely.

We'll be getting a full progress report from NHL Senior Director of Facilities Operations Dan Craig sometime after 1 p.m., so check back in later.

Until then, you can follow along live right here on NHL.com's live webcam.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Posted On Monday, 12.19.2011 / 5:25 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Classic Preparations

Ice guru Craig meets the media

PHILADELPHIA -- It was show-and-tell time for Dan Craig, the NHL's resident ice-making guru.

During the general media availability at 3:30 Monday afternoon, Craig ran over and grabbed one of the four-inch pipes that he will use to connect the floor of the auxiliary rink to the refrigeration truck parked outside Citizens Bank Park. He picked it up and began explaining how it connects to the floor and how the pipe eventually connects to the truck outside.

"We hook the (aluminum panels) onto these hoses," Craig said, pointing out the hoses attached to the pipe. "There's a quick connect here and the glycol, which is simple antifreeze, gets pumped into the aluminum panel, which is a quick, fast-freezing element. The whole set up will take about 300 panels, and these are 30 feet long by 30 inches wide. We'll push 1,500 gallons of glycol in per minute from the truck down into the floor."

Craig had the assembled media amazed. It was one of those, "Wait a minute, you don't just spray water and it freezes" moments.

It definitely is not, and that's why Craig pulled out one of the pipes to demonstrate.

Other than the show-and-tell, Craig offered some positive updates for how the first day of the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic buildout was going. He said everything is on schedule and going according to plan.

The plan for Tuesday is further set-up and the goal is to be spraying water by Thursday night. He said it'll happen at night because the sun goes down and the temperatures dip into the 30s, and those are ideal conditions for ice making.

"We might as well use the benefit of being down into the 30s or high 40s to make a good sheet of ice," Craig said. "So, if you go onto the (NHL.com) webcam, you won't see a whole lot of work going on during the day. A lot of it will happen at night with security lightning because that's the best time for us to work."

Once Craig was finished with his demonstration and update, he started fielding some questions. A television reporter asked him about the challenges he faces here at Citizens Bank Park compared to other outside venues.

"I don't know yet. I really don't," Craig said. "It's one of those things you have to be in here for a couple of days. This morning it was very calm, very nice, and now we have the wind picking up, and it's approximately gametime for us. That's one of the things I watch, is to really see what transitions here between noon and 4, what happens in the region and how it affects us here. If you get up to the truck you don't feel the wind, but down here you feel the wind. It's elements like that that we have to play with and work with."

The goal, Craig said, is to have an inch of ice built by Dec. 26 so they can start painting white Dec. 27. He wants to have the lines and logos painted on the 28th and then build more ice so the entire sheet is ready before the scheduled media skate on Dec. 30.

Craig was asked if it's important that the ice gets skated on prior to the actual game being played on Jan. 2.

"Definitely, definitely," he said. "It doesn't matter where you are or what facility you're in, you always try to make sure it's chewed up a little bit so we can let it heal itself and get the bottom back together. Density on a sheet of ice is the No. 1 thing we deal with."

With no further questions, Craig's first general media session was over. He walked away smiling as he went to tackle his next task.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

Posted On Monday, 12.19.2011 / 4:48 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Classic Preparations

Renzulli reveals details about ancillary events

PHILADELPHIA -- If NHL Senior Director of Facilities Operations Dan Craig is in charge of the actual game that will be played Jan. 2 here at Citizens Bank Park, NHL Senior Vice President of Events Don Renzulli helms all the ancillary events that will make the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic one of the most memorable events of the 2011-12 season.

At a press briefing today, Renzulli gave a few details of what the non-rink décor of the stadium will entail.

Most obvious are the 1,500 temporary seats installed in center field, which will be completed and approved by the end of the week. Left field near the foul pole will feature two goalie sticks framing a hockey puck about 35 feet in diameter, while the right-field corner will house the host positions for NBC and CBC.

The broadcast positions for NBC and CBC will be erected in what usually is short center field.

The auxiliary rink will be built between the pitcher's mound and home plate, and another small stage will be built in front of home plate for the anthem singers.

Work also is going on outside the stadium on Citizens Bank Way, where a spectator plaza will be constructed.

"That's where we open that up to the fans and our sponsors," Renzulli said. "There will be merchandise, a band, video board, food and beverage. A place to go enjoy yourself prior to the game. Once that opens for Alumni Day on the 31st, that'll stay open right through to when we drop the puck at 1:28 p.m. on Jan. 2.

"We've got bands on the 31st and 1st. There will be video board out there. We'll show highlights, NHL Network out there live. The network will be live out there broadcasting. All of our sponsors -- I think we have 10 or 11 that will activate out there -- they'll all have tie-ins with hockey. It's not just showing products, it's really tie-ins with the game. We'll have roaming entertainers, something similar to what we've had the past four years."

Renzulli also talked about the weather reports, which he said were very hopeful leading into the game.

"One good thing is the last hour the weather has changed," he said. "This is more like Winter Classic weather instead of the 60-degree weather we've had in the past. The weather report that I'm seeing is snow toward the end of the week, at least light snow, right through to Jan. 2. Hopefully Mother Nature works in our favor, the sun stays out of our way, little clouds, little snow and we're looking forward to a great day on Jan. 2.

"This will start to take shape pretty quickly. Hope to watch Dan make ice come Thursday."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Posted On Monday, 12.19.2011 / 12:05 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Classic Preparations

Ballpark presents unique challenge for piping

PHILADELPHIA -- If you're at Citizens Bank Park for the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 2 and you happen to be walking in Ashburn Alley you may find yourself standing directly under the piping that runs to the rink.

Due to the layout of the ballpark, the only way to get the piping that pumps glycol (the fluid that is used to freeze the rink) from the refrigeration truck parked outside the stadium to the rink on the field is to send it up and down on scaffolding. Part of that scaffolding is constructed above the concourse area in Ashburn Alley beyond the right-field fence.

Workers are expected to begin running the piping Monday.

The piping will start at the refrigeration truck on Hartranft Street and will be run up through a 4x4 window that leads into an indoor play area. It will run through the entire play area and out a smaller window into the concourse area.

However, that's where it will get raised to fly on the 28-foot height to go above the actual field. It will then run down a scaffolding ramp, underneath the temporary bleachers that have been erected in center field, and finally down onto the field.

The piping will run on armored decking that is already laid down in between center field and right field, and finally will get attached to junction boxes that are themselves attached to the sub-floor of the rink. The glycol circulates and freezes the water that will eventually be sprayed onto the floor to create the playing surface for the Flyers and Rangers.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

Posted On Monday, 12.19.2011 / 10:50 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Classic Preparations

Refrigeration truck kept on ice in bid for parking spot

PHILADELPHIA -- The NHL's famous refrigeration truck had to wait this morning before driver Jim Fraser could finally put it in park on Hartranft Street beyond right field at Citizens Bank Park.

Why? Well, a gray Ford Escape with New Jersey license plates was parked in the spot reserved for the truck.

Nobody is quite sure who the Ford Escape belonged to or why it was parked illegally in that spot, but people around the ballpark were saying it had been there since early in the morning. Even better is that when the police ran the license plates, the car came up as unregistered.

Some of the workers here for the Winter Classic buildout were joking that they should just get fork lifts to haul the Escape out of the spot, but NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig, always thinking on his feet, said that could be a problem, especially if the fork lifts ripped up the bottom of the SUV.
Posted On Monday, 12.19.2011 / 8:00 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Classic Preparations

It's time to build a hockey rink

PHILADELPHIA -- With the arrival of the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic truck ice truck this morning, Citizens Bank Park makes the full-time shift from baseball stadium to outdoor hockey oasis.

NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig and his crew are on-hand for the arrival of the custom-built 53-foot truck, which contains everything needed to create the rink that will play host to the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers on Jan. 2, 2012.

The long days and nights actually started Nov. 21, when the first pieces of armor decking were laid down to protect the field, and temporary seating already has been erected in center field (follow the progress here). Next comes the installation of everything needed to build a hockey rink in a baseball stadium.

In other words, the fun starts now.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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