The Winter Classic will be held in a baseball stadium for the third time in its five-year history this season when the Philadelphia Flyers host the New York Rangers at Citizens Bank Park on January 2.
It's the first of those ballparks that's been built in the modern era, and that's actually proving to be more of a challenge than older, historic venues like Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. We'll let NHL.com explain:
The 23-feet of elevation from the field level to beyond the center field fence, where the NHL's refrigeration truck will be parked, is the most Craig has worked with in building an NHL rink. He also anticipates the truck will be parked 425 feet from the playing surface, which is the furthest distance away a refrigeration unit has ever been from the ice surface for an NHL game.
It makes sense if you think about it. Those old ballparks tend not to have much concourse space in the outfield, where the refrigeration truck typically parks. Modern facilities have much more to do out there -- games, restaurants, Walls of Fame, aisles and aisles of bleacher seats, etc.
Prep is ongoing at the ballpark, now in full swing less than three weeks before the game. The ice has to be ready by December 31 at the latest for the Alumni Game between the Flyers and Rangers, but almost certainly before then to work out all the kinks. The plan is to have the first coat of ice down before Christmas Eve, thus allowing the crew to return home for the holiday before returning to put on the finishing touches.
For more on the Winter Classic and HBO's 24/7 series, stick with this StoryStream.