DALLAS -- Preparations for the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Cotton Bowl Stadium on Jan. 1 are rolling along despite up-and-down temperatures and rain in the forecast.
"I won't say we're very far ahead of schedule, but we are ahead of schedule heading into what we will have as a Christmas break," NHL executive vice president and chief content officer Steve Mayer said on Monday. "We're super excited at how it's coming out so far."
The NHL Ice Plant Truck for the game between the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators on New Year's Day (2 p.m. ET, NBC, SN, TVAS) arrived in Dallas on Dec. 17. The 53-foot, 300-ton capacity refrigeration unit was set up outside Cotton Bowl Stadium and began making the ice surface on Dec. 22, following the conclusion of the rink build.
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The temperature in Dallas has ranged from 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit in the past few days and skies have gone from sunny to overcast. Mayer said the crew building the rink is equipped to handle anything.
"We have the greatest ice team in the world that builds our rinks," Mayer said. "We've now been able to master building rinks in any condition. The sun is shining bright here in Dallas and temperatures have been ranging from the 40's through the 60's. Honestly, that is okay by us. We're able to make ice in those types of conditions."
The 10-day forecast in Dallas calls for temperatures reaching as high as 72 degrees, but the temperature on Jan. 1 is projected to be around 57. Mayer say that regardless of the weather, the ice surface will be ideal for the game.
"What we see in terms of the weather forecast over the next 10 days, it's staying pretty consistent," Mayer said. "We're confident that, based on what we see and the great team we have building the ice, we're going to have great ice for the game."
There is a chance of rain in the over the next 10 days, but the crew and the NHL are prepared in case weather has a significant impact on the day of the game.
"We'll evaluate any of those situations as the week gets closer," Mayer said. "Based on some of the weather and forecasts we've seen, we think we're going to be just fine."
The preparations of the ice surface will continue throughout the next week. Mayer has been impressed with the progress made so far and believes that by game time on Jan. 1, the ice will be ideal for the first outdoor NHL game in Texas.
"We've already built about half an inch of ice," Mayer said. "Typically, we get up to between an inch and a half and two inches when it comes to game time. It's a process that happens on a day-by-day basis. So far, it's going unbelievably well and
we're really happy."