With the Sochi Olympics halting hometown hockey games, Blackhawks fans have something to get excited about in Chicago—the ice truck has arrived at Soldier Field.
As the much-awaited outdoor game approaches, preparations for turning Soldier Field into an outdoor ice arena are underway.
The NHL ice truck, a 53-foot trailer that houses ice-making and ice-monitoring equipment, arrived at the field at 1 p.m. Tuesday to begin the installation of an “NHL-caliber sheet of ice.”
Officials said the truck has the capacity to refrigerate 300 tons of ice, the same amount as the United Center.
The ice is set to be laid Friday.
The Hawks are set to face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins as part of the NHL’s outdoor game series, marking the first-ever professional hockey game to be played at Soldier Field.
This game will feature several of the games’ biggest stars, with Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby highlighting the Penguins side, and Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane getting top billing for the Hawks.
This will be the second time that the Blackhawks have hosted an outdoor game, as they were also the hosts of the 2009 NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field against the Detroit Red Wings.
"We're going to have a bigger show than at Wrigley," said Dan Craig, the NHL's senior director of facilities.
While the biggest challenge officials face is keeping the ice surface at 22 degrees, officials aren't concerned with the city's ever-changing winter weather.
"You wake up in the morning and whatever Mother Nature deals, you deal with it," Craig said.