NHL fights weather to build ice at Nissan Stadium ahead of the Stadium Series

Posted at 11:38 AM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 12:38:33-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Back-to-back downpour days in Nashville left NHL ice-making crews working in overdrive to keep ice on the rink at Nissan Stadium during the days leading up to the Stadium Series.

"The process for the ice takes about a week. We've had times where we lost the ice, we've had to rebuild... that group understands how to do it in a faster amount of time but to do it right and to do it the way they like to do it," explained NHL Chief Content Officer Steve Mayer.

The Stadium Series at Nissan Stadium set for Saturday, February 26, makes Tennessee the 14th state to host a regular-season game outdoors.

"It's not an exhibition game. It's a real game for real points. For the Predators and the Lightning, it could mean the difference between making the playoffs and not making the playoffs," stated Mayer.

The Stadium Series at Nissan Stadium on Saturday, February 26, makes Tennessee the 14th state to host a regular season game outdoors.

"Our players really look forward to these games. It's a big deal," explained Mayer. "They have only a few moments in their career, I think, that stand out, especially during the regular season and one of those great moments is playing an outdoor game."

To ensure the special game could commence, the NHL ice-makers leaned on experience during the week ahead of the outdoor game between the Nashville Predators and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"He built the ice greater than he needed it to be knowing that yesterday with a warm rain, he's going to lose some of that ice, but he's still going to have enough that he's not going to lose his lines and logos," explained Mayer of the man in charge of the rink. "That's where experience came in. He played it really really smart... He put two inches of ice on top more than he needed. Knowing he was gonna lose some yesterday."

The NHL brought in a 53-foot mobile rink refrigeration unit, the largest in the world holding 300 tons of water, to pump in and freeze water in the rink. It also used 243 ice pans under the rink to control the temperature of the ice.

"You can make ice, you know, in your refrigerator, but what they've done is it's a scientific process that that makes it the best it can be for skating and for our players," Mayer explained.

NHL Chief Content Officer Steve Mayer

"What you don’t love is a 70-degree day with, you know, with rain consistently coming down from early morning till early morning," said Mayer. "We're really fortunate though, to be able to do what we do with the best people in the world. And we're on schedule now for Saturday."

The Predators are set to host an outdoor Winter Park Thursday through Saturday for fans and the NHL will host musical country music artists during the game's intermissions on the field.

"There's a lot in Nashville to compete with, you know, whether you go into the Ryman or the Grand Ole Opry or Bridgestone Arena. People here in Nashville are used to a show," stated Mayer. "We better put one on and we think we're going to. I think this is gonna be a game, for us, we're gonna remember for a long time and I think if you come here, as a fan, you're going to remember for a long time as well."

Click here to purchase tickets for the Stadium Series on February 26.