The St. Louis Blues defeated the Minnesota Wild 6-4 Saturday night in the 2022 National Hockey League (NHL) Winter Classic at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota, officially ruled the coldest outdoor game in league history.
The temperature was -6 degrees at puck drop, sinking to -10 as the game went on, according to the NHL with a wind chill in the negative 20s.
Before tonight’s game, the coldest game in league history was during the 2003 Heritage Classic, the first outdoor game, between the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. It was zero degrees at puck drop.
Prior to the game, the NHL said the ice will need to be heated: “When the air temperature is above the optimum ice temperature, the glycol and aluminum pans transfer heat away from the ice. But when the air temperature is below the optimum ice temperature, it transfers heat to the ice,” said NHL.com.
“The NHL has used a custom-made inline heater before to warm the glycol in the pipes on the way to the floor, but here it will use two inline heaters for the first time, one at the refrigeration truck and another in the outfield. The crew can calibrate the temperature to a half-degree.”
The NHL has staged 32 modern outdoor games, with this weekend’s tilt at the home of MLB’s Minnesota Twins.
The high temperature on Saturday is only supposed to reach -2 degrees, but it will be even colder when the game begins at 7 p.m. ET with a frozen temperature of -5 and the wind chill hovering around -20 degrees.
Meanwhile the NHL has announced the postponement of nine additional games, eight of those due to attendance restrictions in Canada. The NHL postponed nine other Canadian games for the same reason earlier this week.
The NHL says it plans to reschedule those games for later in the season when attendance restrictions in Canada “may be eased or lifted.”
The NHL also postponed the New York Islanders’ road game against the Seattle Kraken scheduled for January 4 after the three Canadian stops on the Islanders’ road trip were scratched.
A total of 91 NHL games have now been postponed this season due to Covid-19 issues.