Winter Classic Coming to Pittsburgh?

All indications are the New Year’s Day 2011 version of the NHL Winter Classic will be Washington vs Pittsburgh at Heinz Field:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10087/1046280-61.stm

If all of this is correct that would be a tight turnaround to build the rink in 8 days after the Steelers play at home on 12/23.  Also, will they be able to do this and leave the field in good shape for a potential home playoff game?  If the Steelers were to land the 3rd or 4th seed that would be wildcard weekend on January 8th or 9th which leaves them a week to tear the rink down and get the field in playoff football condition.  PNC Park would be easier logistically but as the article says its a smaller place with a lower seating capacity, and I think the NHL rightly believes the demand for tickets would be there to fill Heinz Field.

Also, what the article fails to address is weather.  Pittsburgh is a northern climate in this country but its not Buffalo or Chicago.  Sunny and 50 degrees is not beyond the pale by any stretch if the weather flow that day is zonal or a ridge of high pressure in the east with winds out of the southwest.  Heck I have certainly seen temps in the 60s in January before though that is rare.  If it is that warm keeping the ice firm will be a challenge, especially on a temporary cooling system.  Still, if this does come to fruition it’ll be a lot of fun.  I’m sure NBC likes the thought of Ovechkin v Crosby on this stage.

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One Response to “Winter Classic Coming to Pittsburgh?”

  1. Nick Says:

    My understanding is warm temperatures really aren’t a concern in terms of keeping a temporary outdoor rink in good playing condition; the problem is if it rains (even at 33 degrees air temperature), which is something due to happen one of these years.

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