PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Despite the threat of rain, the NHL is moving full speed ahead for the Winter Classic scheduled for New Year’s Day.

“We think it’s just a great day to celebrate hockey,” John Collins, NHL C.O.O., said. “It’s the one day that maybe hockey fans can put aside their passions for their local team and just celebrate being a hockey fan and all that’s great.”

Still, with rain in the forecast, it’s the No. 1 topic.

“The weather has been over-emphasized,” Penguins President Dave Morehouse said. “I – I’m from Pittsburgh – people in Pittsburgh tend to talk about weather more than they should, I think.”

The NHL is forging ahead.

“We don’t know what the weather’s going to be,” Collins said. “We have reports, but they change all the time and we’re still more – significantly more than 24 hours out here, so there’s a lot that can change.”

It would take a threat to safety for the weather to prompt a schedule change.

“We’re not talking about a blizzard, we’re not talking about lightning, we’re not talking about any of the things – you know, we’re not talking about tremendously high winds, we’re not talking about any of those things that would create that kind of a crisis,” Collins said.

“We’re planning to play at one o’clock and we’ve got maximum flexibility to do what needs to do to get that game in on Saturday,” he added.

The alumni game starts at 9:30 a.m. Friday at Heinz Field.

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