Yankee Stadium rink work slowed by snowstorm

Tuesday, 01.21.2014 / 7:26 PM
Corey Masisak  - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The beginnings of a snowstorm expected to dump up to a foot of snow on the New York area halted the progress Tuesday of readying an ice rink at Yankee Stadium for the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.

NHL senior manager of facilities operations Mike Craig and his crew of eight rink-builders were on schedule to paint the surface white at the Stadium, but the storm arrived and the rest of the day involved a lot of shoveling.

"There's nothing we can do other than wait it out and keep removing snow so that when it does stop we can keep going," Craig said. "Basically our schedule for today was to get ourselves ready to paint white, and we were going to do lines and logos tomorrow. What this does is, tomorrow is going to be a longer day for us because we have to make sure we get all of the white down and all the lines and logos and sealed up and ready to build up from there."

Craig and his crew knew the storm was coming and got as much accomplished as they could before snow started falling with vigor Tuesday morning.

"It continues to get more and more and get heavier and heavier every time I read [the forecast]," Craig said. "We're just going to try and stay on top of it the best we can. We're just going to continue to remove snow off the rink so that when it does stop, it won't take us that long to remove what's left and continue with making ice and get back on schedule."

This is the first time the NHL crew of rink-builders has been split into two teams. Half of the crew, headed by senior director of facilities operations Dan Craig, is putting the final touches on the rink at Dodger Stadium for a game Saturday between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings.

Half of the crew is in The Bronx, getting the rink ready for games Sunday and Wednesday, when the New York Rangers will play the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders at Yankee Stadium.

"Currently we have eight, and we have two more coming in just before the game and a few local people to come and help us during the games, and then basically that gets us through the two games here and then we have about 10 days of skating rentals after that," Mike Craig said. "Most of the guys who are here will stay all the way through until we take it out."

Craig's crew is facing a long day Wednesday, but the earlier the snow breaks in the morning, the better. To this point, there had been no issues, so he said getting behind schedule for a day is not a problem.

"Our rink build went very well. We were basically right on schedule with everything that we had," Craig said. "Our production schedule was bang on. Everything was bang on really right up until this morning when some snow fell. During the build, everybody that came in was fantastic. All the labor, everyone that pitched in, all the contractors and groups that were here were great. Everything overall went very well."

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