Heritage Classic: Ice preparations begin in Hamilton

HAMILTON – The ice cream truck showed up at Tim Hortons Field in preparation for the 2022 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic on Monday, and it didn’t take long before the first teasing began.

Former Buffalo Sabers goaltender Martin Biron and former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Wendel Clark were on hand to welcome the 53-foot trailer, the world’s largest mobile refrigeration unit, which will be used to make ice cream NHL quality for the outdoor game that will feature the Sabers and Maple Leafs at the home of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League (CFL) on March 13 (4 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SN, SN NOW, TNT, NHL LIVE).

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The event will accommodate more than 24,000 fans in the stadium that is nicknamed « the donut box » (The Donut Box) and is open at both ends, which can cause a lot of wind. Clark intends to take advantage of this environment to support the Maple Leafs, the team for which he now acts as an ambassador.

« I’ve spoken to the team that makes the ice behind Marty’s back, and this will be the first outdoor rink that can rotate, » Clark laughed. “So we’re going to play with the wind at our back in all three periods. »

Hamilton’s daytime temperature is expected to be -7°C on March 13, and it should drop to -16°C in the evening, so ice quality shouldn’t be an issue. The wind could cause some problems.

“We will take extra care in assembling the bay windows and strips,” said Mike Craig, who oversees operations. “You have to make sure everything is safe. During the game, we will pay attention to these factors. The hockey operations group will also be here with the teams to see what needs to be done.

“I know we are all excited to be here in Ontario, to get to work and to regain a sense of normalcy in the region. As for the stadium, we will pay attention to the sun – where it rises and sets – in the construction of the rink.

« It’s going to be a good game. »

We should indeed be entitled to a good duel because of the proximity to Toronto and Buffalo.

Hamilton, a port city on the western shore of Lake Ontario, is located almost halfway between the two cities along the Queen Elizabeth Highway, a stretch of road nicknamed the Golden Horseshoe due to its shape around the lake. Scotiabank Arena, home of the Maple Leafs, is located 69 kilometers from Tim Hortons Field. The KeyBank Center, home of the Sabers, is about 100 kilometers away.

“There is always an electric atmosphere when the Maple Leafs come to Buffalo, and as players, we noticed that their fans were numerous in the stands, mentioned Biron. It gave us extra motivation to beat them.

“This time we will have a lot of fans here in Hamilton. The atmosphere is going to be great. »

Although this will be the sixth edition of the Heritage Classic, it is the first time that the Maple Leafs will participate and that a non-Canadian team will be in the game.

« It’s an honor that the Sabers are the first American team to participate, » said Biron. It is a logical choice. »

As the day drew to a close on Monday, Biron revealed that he and Clark went for it on a small scale. The representative of the winning team will receive a box of Tim Hortons donuts from the losing team.

« Don’t forget to send them, » Biron told Clark.

« I don’t know, » Clark replied, looking down at Biron’s stomach. « Looks like you’ve already started eating it. » »

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