Turf to ice
The NHL and its ice guru, Dan Craig, turned the Pittsburgh Steelers' home turf into a Winter Classic-worthy hockey venue in just over six days.
1. December 23
11 p.m. or so: The Steelers beat the Panthers at Heinz Field.
Midnight: BaAm Productions, a Toronto company contracted by the NHL, began installing plank "roads" onto the field for equipment trucks and Zambonis. They also installed a platform on top of the crowned field so the ice will be level.
2. December 24
Early: The NHL's custom-made refrigeration truck settled into its spot outside Heinz Field, 350 feet from the rink.
Late: 30-foot-long specialized, refrigerated floor panels were arranged on the platform and connected to coolant lines that run to the truck. The truck will circulate 3,300 gallons of glycol refrigerant through the panels and back again.
3. December 25
Thirty-seven hours after the last play of the football game, Craig turned on the hoses. He makes ice by mimicking a light rain, misting layer upon layer over the cooling panels. The ideal temperature for hockey ice is 22 degrees.
4. December 26
Ice making continued, resulting in half an inch of ice.
5. December 27
Crews sprayed white paint over the transparent ice.
6. December 28
Another half-inch of ice covered the white paint, then the lines and logos were laid down.
7. December 29-30
The thickest layer of ice was sprayed over the top of everything, bringing the ice to a total of 2 inches thick.
8. December 30
Noon: The ice was done and ready for testing. New ice needs to settle a bit so any anomalies can be addressed before the game.
9. December 31
The Capitals and Penguins practiced on the ice for the first time.
10. January 1
1 p.m.: Game time. Immediately after the game, crews will begin dismantling the rink. The Steelers could host a playoff game as early as Jan. 8 and the field would need to be resodded and repainted to be ready for football again.