PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Penguins Vice President of Communications Tom McMillan joined Ron Cook to talk all things Winter Classic this weekend.
McMillan said everyone needs to calm down about the weather forecast for the Winter Classic. He said that is what we should come to expect when you play a hockey game outdoors.
McMillan said they will be able to play despite the 50 degree temperature forecast because of the large refrigeration system under the ice.
However, rain will be the biggest issue. When rain falls on the ice, it creates mini pools that could injure the players. Rain can also fall on the players’ visors, inhibiting their vision.
McMillan said the Winter Classic started off as an experiment and no one knew what a great idea it would become.
The first Winter Classic in 2008 was in Buffalo at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The NHL decided to put the game in Buffalo because the league knew they could attract 70,000 fans to an outdoor venue with the proximity to Canada, McMillan said.
At the first Winter Classic, there was very little marketing and promotion for the game. Now the league creates a week-long event leading up to the game.
This year, there was a new twist to the marketing of the game, an HBO mini documentary.
McMillian said, everyone in the organization is very pleased with the way the team is portrayed in the documentary series.