Monday, December 31, 2007

Almost game time at Buffalo's neighbourhood backyard rink

It's traditional in many parts of North America that the first day of the New Year is greeted with a polar bear swim, where hearty souls jump into a lake, harbour or river for a brief invigorating splash and then dash.

On New Years Day the NHL version of the Polar Bear swim will be a regular season game played outdoors at Ralph Wilson Stadium, located within a gust or two of the lake effect winds and elements of Lakes Ontario and Erie.

The two teams have been preparing as best they can for such an experience, perhaps trying on the latest in Stanfields and ordering in those heated therma blades suddenly all the rage, rewiring them for a more all encompassing glow.

The game which has been in the preparation stages for a few weeks now will be played on a finely crafted sheet of ice, which has been undergoing the kind of attention that most Canadians would understand from their days of outdoor rink making. Layer upon layer of ice is almost in the final stage for the outdoor spectacular, which now is left in the hands of Mother Nature.

The latest reports for the Buffalo area on New Years Day have for temperatures near the freezing mark with the potential for several inches of snow and wind by game time to make things a little on the cool side, though nowhere near as frigid as the last time this outdoor experience was made in Edmonton in the Heritage Classic of November 23.

During that game it was said that the best seat in the house was the one on the bench beside the heaters, it very well may be the in demand seat once again on Tuesday when the Pens and Sabres take to the ice at the largest neighbourhood rink in Buffalo.

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