“For those of us working on the Winter Classic, today is an exciting day as we start the transformation of the ball park into a hockey rink,” said Jamey Horan, Vice President of Public Relations & Player Development of the NHL.
Ice is His Life
Making ice has been something Dan Craig has been involved in for more than 38 years.
“What did I want to be when I was growing up? A hockey player,” said Craig, the Facilities Operations Manager of the NHL. “Stan Jonathan was my favorite Bruin and he was a small guy that played a very tough game and I wasn’t very big in stature and that’s how I play hockey.”
“You get to an age and you’re playing hockey when you realize that professionalism isn’t in the cards and so you look at it and say ‘what can I do?’
“I grew up being around the rink. I drove the Zamboni for the first time when I was the age 16 and I said this is something that I can do to the best of my ability to improve the game for guys that I watched play,” Craig continued. “That was my biggest thing. I know that it can be done better and that’s when we come in and we bring this crew in, we can be better.”
Far from the simple pond hockey it attempts to resemble, the NHL’s Winter Classic is an event that has really taken shape over the last few years.
“This thing has become fairly large in a short period of time. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into making this something special,” said Don Renzulli, Senior Vice President of Events & Entertainment of the NHL. “The fans have gravitated towards it and I think the NHL is proud to have something that stands alone on New Years Day.”
“We’re here at Fenway, which is another magical park [like Wrigley Field].
“When you look out at the Monster and how that plays into this whole thing, it’s just pretty special,” continued Renzulli. “We’ve tried to integrate a lot of the special pieces of the stadium in our setup. We’ve tried to configure the rink in a way that people can get as close as possible.
The refrigeration truck that will be used to create the ice arrived outside of Fenway at 1:30 p.m., but inside the park the grounds crew were already busy assembling pathways and roadways to protect the turf from all the heavy machinery that would be driving in and out over the next few weeks.
“The crew that is going to be arriving here on Saturday and Sunday, start working here on Monday, you will see they’re handpicked, they have passion,” said Dan Craig, Facilities Operations Manager of the NHL.
“It’s one of those things where it doesn’t matter what time of the day it is, if we need to be making ice, we’ll be making ice just like dad did in the backyard, just like I did with my son,” Craig continued.
“That’s one of those things where you know that mother nature will help you and it’s three or four o’clock in the morning and nothing is more peaceful than… spraying water on a sheet of ice knowing that the best players in the world are going to be out there.
“It’s absolutely fabulous.”BostonBruins.com will have complete coverage of the 2010 Winter Classic, so check back for updates daily.