OTTAWA -- The transformation of Lansdowne Park for the 2017 Scotiabank NHL100 Classic between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators on Dec. 16 (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVA Sports) began Monday.
The 53-foot trailer which houses the ice plant used to make the ice for the outdoor game was parked behind the football stadium, the home of the Ottawa RedBlacks of the Canadian Football League, and workers were putting down 52,000 square feet of plywood to cover the field for the 22nd outdoor game the NHL has played since the first Winter Classic, on Jan. 1, 2008.
Derek King, the NHL Senior Manager of Facilities Operations, is working on his 11th outdoor game. It will take a crew of 200 workers, including King's 16 icemakers, about a week to prepare the stadium.
"To be here in Ottawa is pretty exciting," he said. "[There's] definitely a routine. The truck got parked yesterday. The crew arrived this morning. We'll start doing our piping run from the truck down to the field later today.
"For the first four days we're going to just start focusing on our pipe run. We'll start hooking up the pipes from the truck down to the field. By Wednesday, Thursday, you'll see the boards going up, and then right after that we'll start making ice for about seven days."
The pipes will carry the 3,000 gallons of glycol coolant used to make the ice. It takes about 20,000 gallons of water to create an ice surface two inches thick. King said he strives to create a playing surface as close to what the players will experience in a regular indoor game.
"We're expecting it to be as good as what they have inside," King said. "We can't control some of the conditions, but looking ahead to game day, we work as hard as we can to give the players as close to an identical surface that they are playing on inside.
"We're definitely well prepared. We can't really dictate what Mother Nature is going to give us, but we've done enough of these. Right now we're watching the weather that we have coming in, but we're in pretty good shape. We've looked at some weather models of past Decembers. We've done our homework to the best of our ability."
The Senators and Canadiens, two of the founding members of the NHL, played on the League's opening night, Dec. 19, 1917, a game won 7-4 by the Canadiens. The NHL100 Classic will be the culmination of the League's Centennial celebrations and coincide with Canada's 150th celebration, the Senators 25th anniversary and the Stanley Cup's 125th birthday.
The Canadiens will be making their fourth appearance in a regular-season outdoor NHL game. Montreal is 2-1-0 in three prior outdoor games, most recently a 5-1 win against the Boston Bruins at the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Jan. 1, 2016.
The NHL100 Classic will be the first outdoor game hosted by the Senators. They defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 at the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at BC Place in Vancouver, on March 2, 2014.