Ice hockey at Yankee Stadium? Crews build NHL rink just for Stadium Series

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THE BRONX  (PIX11) – Normally a semi truck pulling up to Yankee Stadium doesn’t draw much attention.  However, Wednesday was a bit different because of the hockey rink being constructed inside.

This is how Mike Craig, the National Hockey League’s Senior Manager of Facility Operations, describes the crossing of paths between hockey and baseball, “Yankees Stadium is a bit of a fairy tale isn’t it.  I’m from a small town in Western Canada, so actually to be standing here in New York and even Manhattan last night and standing at Yankee Stadium is pretty special.”

The New York Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello provided an intriguing perspective as well.  The Norwegian winger had never been to Yankee Stadium prior to Wednesday’s photo shoot.  When asked what he thought of the facility and the rink that was being constructed in the area where Derek Jeter usually snags grounders?  “It was quite nice,” he simply said.

This is all a part of the NHL’s Stadium Series scheduled to take place at the end of the month.  The unique set of games scheduled for Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago are garnering much media attention.  For Zuccarello and teammate Carl Haglan the concept is a cool blast to the past.  When asked how old he was when he last played outdoors, Zuccarello said, “Uh I don’t know it’s been a while, so looking forward to it for sure.”

As for Haglan take? “It’s one of those things that we did  growing up and it brings back a lot of memories.”

As for the possibility of having to layer appropriately due to the temperatures come game time? “Obviously it’s going to be a little bit chillier here than it is at the garden.  So you’ll throw an extra layer, maybe another t-shirt on, maybe some spandex. I don’t know what is going to happen” said Haglan.

Whatever does happen, skating at Yankee Stadium is much different than playing outdoors in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Which is what the Rangers did in an exhibition game back in September of 1991.  It was a game that was played right behind Caesars Palace.  The rink was sandwiched between a parking lot and the pool. Think about the experiment, hockey in the desert in September.  Bad idea?  Well the the ice melted and the Rangers lost.

Nonetheless even at Yankee Stadium, where hockey outdoors in January makes sense,  there are weather related concerns for the players once they hit the ice, “If you start out the first period with the wind against you, it’s tough to create offense.”

Not too mention if it snows, it will only slow down the puck.



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