Today the NHL will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of The Winter Classic games when the Buffalo Sabres will play their intrastate rivals, the New York Rangers at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets and located in the New York City borough of Queens. This will be the second Winter Classic appearance for both teams, following the Ranger’s participation in 2012 and the Sabres’ in the original snowy 2008 Winter Classic played in Buffalo NY. Puck drop is scheduled for 1 p.m. and a chilly 20F (-7C) is on the latest forecast for this landmark event. Today’s game is the second outdoor game of the 2017-18 season after the Scotiabank NHL100 Classic Game played a few weeks ago in Ottawa. One more outdoor matchup is scheduled for this season on March 3rd when the Toronto Maple Leafs will be playing the Washington Capitals at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium of the Naval Academy in Annapolis MD making it the First-Ever outdoor game at a Service Academy.
The on-ice official’s crew selected by the National Hockey League to work this New Year’s tradition will feature: referees Chris Lee (3rd Outdoor Game; 2014 Los Angeles CA & 2016 Minneapolis MN) and Gord Dwyer (3rd Outdoor Game; 2015 Santa Clara CA & 2016 Winnipeg MB) while the linesmen will be Shane Heyer (2nd Outdoor Game; 2014 Los Angeles CA) and Tony Sericolo (2nd Outdoor Game; 2014 New York, NY). Just like the players, the officials today will have to adapt their game to the new elements. From the wind, snow flakes, cold weather, ice condition, sun 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 NHL 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 today to fight the cold weather but at the end this is always a special assignment to work for any officials selected.
The NHLOA is proud to be one more time involved in one these event celebrating the great game of hockey and its roots and hope that all fans, players, hockey personnel as well as the officials will have a great time today!