NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig and his crew were all set to start flooding the rink at McMahon Stadium on Sunday afternoon, but with nary a cloud in the sky and the sun shining brightly, the process was delayed for a few hours.
But the direct sunlight wasn't a problem for Craig, whose crew sprayed the first drops of water in preparation for the 2011 Tim Hortons Heritage Classic between the Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames at about 4 p.m. local time.
"We were ready to go at lunch time," Craig said. "The guys broke for lunch and went out and did a couple of sprays and realized Mother Nature wasn't going to help us for about three hours so we had to kind of back down a little bit and wait for the sun to go off over the wall."
With the sun out of the way, Craig's crew got things started.
"Everything's good. We're all set up," said Craig, whose crew also started putting in the stanchions that will hold the glass Sunday. "We slushed the bottom of the boards and now we're basically an hour into our ice-making," said Craig. "Everything is set up really well. The sun has gone down and it's all going to be good."
Craig said the two-day process of slowly filling the rink with water requires patience. The task involves a member of the crew walking from one end of the ice to the other with a hose while four or five other members carry the other end of the hose. With the sun going down and the temperatures dropping, it's a job that only gets more difficult as the night progresses.
Once the spraying concludes at about midnight Sunday, the crew will be back to work at about 5 a.m. on Monday morning to repeat the spraying process. But everything is progressing as planned.
"I like the setup here. I think we made it look really neat on our side," Craig said. Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Author: Dave Lozo | NHL.com Staff Writer