Tonight in Ottawa, Ontario, the National Hockey League will be featuring its first of three outdoor games to be played this season when the Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators will take it outside. As part of the NHL’s Centennial Festivities, the game will be a re-match of one of the NHL’S first two regular-season games played a century ago. Ottawa is hosting an NHL outdoor game for the first time but have already participated in one before when they played the Vancouver Canucks in the 2014 Heritage Classic. This will be the fourth outdoor appearance for the Montreal Canadiens, all as a visitor.
The game is scheduled to start at 19h00 but could revised if mother nature decide otherwise! This is all part of the magical and exciting experience of participating in such event. The officiating crew selected by the NHL to work tonight’s game is an experienced one! Referee Brad Watson will be skating in his fourth outdoor game (2014 L.A. CA, 2016 Denver CO & 2017 St.Louis MO) while his partner Marc Joannette will go outside for the third time of his career having worked the original Winter Classic 10 years ago (2008) in Buffalo and also the 2014 Stadium Series at Soldiers Field in Chicago. The two linesmen selected are; Steve Barton who will be skating in his third outdoor game (2015 Santa Clara CA & 2016 Foxborough MA) and Derek Nansen who will be working his second outdoor event (2014 Chicago IL). Just like the players, the officials tonight will have to adapt their game to the new elements. From the wind, snow flakes, cold weather, ice condition, lighting glare, depth perception, etc, many factors will need to be taken in consideration to make sure the event is a success but also that the game will be played safely and fairly for both teams. The on-ice officials will be in constant communication with the ice-crew to make sure that the ice is as good as it can. The NHL Hockey Operations Department will also help the on-ice crew throughout the evening to make sure everything is running smoothly. A few more layers under the uniform and some light gloves might be on the agenda for tonight to fight the cold weather but at the end this is always a special assignment to work for any officials selected. The latest forecast for puck drop time is a cloudy sky with a chilly -9 degree Celcius (16F). Enjoy the fresh air gentlemen!