The NHL has staged 32 modern outdoor games, but Saturday’s match between the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues maybe the coldest yet, with sub-zero temperatures forecast.
The high temperature on Saturday is only supposed to reach -2 degrees, but it will be even colder when the game begins at 7 p.m. ET with a frozen temperature of -5 and the wind chill hovering around -20 degrees.
So much so that the National Hockey League says even the ice will need to be heated.
“When the air temperature is above the optimum ice temperature, the glycol and aluminum pans transfer heat away from the ice. But when the air temperature is below the optimum ice temperature, it transfers heat to the ice,” said NHL.com.
“The NHL has used a custom-made inline heater before to warm the glycol in the pipes on the way to the floor, but here it will use two inline heaters for the first time, one at the refrigeration truck and another in the outfield. The crew can calibrate the temperature to a half-degree.”
The NHL says it plans to reschedule those games for later in the season when attendance restrictions in Canada “may be eased or lifted.”
The NHL also postponed the New York Islanders’ road game against the Seattle Kraken scheduled for January 4 after the three Canadian stops on the Islanders’ road trip were scratched.
A total of 91 NHL games have now been postponed this season due to Covid-19 issues.