Chicagoans say that if you don’t like the weather, just wait around for a minute and it’ll change. Certainly the NHL Ice Crew have seen that this week.
Since last Monday, NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig and his workers have seen everything that Chicago has to offer around this time of year: blinding sunshine, gale-force winds, arctic cold, freezing rain, sleet and thick blankets of snow. But nothing’s kept the team from meeting their goal of getting Wrigley Field ready for New Year’s Day and the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic 2009 (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS, NHL Radio, XM Radio).
On Sunday morning, the crew came to Wrigley to again find both the game and auxiliary rinks covered with snow, and therefore set about plowing the surfaces to flood the rinks with water. Monday’s promise of high-profile visitors—and media availability—meant the crew wanted to get as much done today as possible.
With Craig and his workers, who have been putting in 12-hour days, scheduled to depart Chicago for their homes following a day of work on Tuesday, not to return until after Christmas, it was critical for them to build as much ice as possible today.
He’s had all sorts of temperature variations in his six days of work, but when Craig was asked about the ideal weather for the Jan. 1 game, he simply remarked, “24, 25 degrees and sunny. No snow."