CALGARY, AB - An estimated temperature of -15 degrees Celsius for Sunday's Heritage Classic will create an additional challenge for players on both teams.
Players will be able to rest on heated benches during play, but the real challenge exists for goalies. Goalies have to be able to withstand these winter conditions for up to an entire period.
"It will definitely be a challenge, but we got a day to figure things out," responded Finnish goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff. In addition to their regular gear, players and goalies will have the opportunity to wear and try out extra gear like touques and gloves during tomorrow's practice McMahon Stadium. "I have played a lot of outdoor hockey in Finland when I was a kid, but it was never this cold," recalls Kiprusoff.
When asked if there were any old Finnish remedies he knew that would help him to stay warm like hot chocolate in a water bottle, Kiprusoff chuckled and added, "I don't think you are allowed to have those drinks during a hockey game."
"I try not to get into a goalie's mind, they have their own way of thinking," responded Steve Staios. "We have to stay focused and concentrate on game. I am sure Depo will have some mittens or touques for them." Depo, referring to Mark DePasquale, the equipment manager of the Calgary Flames is well prepared for this game and will ensure that all his players stay confortable and warm for the duration of the game.
So for now it is everybody’s guess what the goalies will do, maybe a touque and some mittens or maybe some hot chocolate is all they will need. It is really too early to tell, but tomorrow’s practice should help players and staff to prepare for Sunday’s Heritage Classic.