NORTH SHORE (kDKA) — Once Ben Roethlisberger and company have put away their helmets for the night, Dan Craig and the National Hockey League rink builders will take over.

First, protective covering will go down to provide a barrier for the grass. The next step is to place semi-hard interlocking plates.

“For us to drive forklifts and for us to put a base on for the rink itself,” Craig said.

Once those are in place, they can start bringing out the special freezable base containing miles of tubing for the ice rink itself. The base will be fed by a refrigeration truck that will pump coolant under the surface by Christmas Day.

Then comes the framework around the outside and the distribution of about 3,000 gallons of coolant and somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 gallons of water hand-sprayed onto the surface, Zambonied and sprayed.

Of course there are the high winds and crazy weather of Heinz Field to death with – weather that can cause one end of the rink to freeze differently than the other.

The finished product will be NHL regulation ice where a game that counts will be played. Craig says it takes a very special team to pull it off because each Winter Classic is happening in a place where an ice rink has never been before.

“Everybody feeds off of one another,” he said. “Basically we’re writing our own operational manual as we go along here.”

The key is to have it all ready by Noon next Thursday, waiting for Mario Lemieux and company a week from Friday and the Winter Classic New Year’s Day.

Watch & Listen LIVE