It's strange walking into a baseball stadium in the dead of winter. There are no fans shuffling about the concourse in purple pinstripes, no food vendors peddling hot dogs and cotton candy, no sounds of baseball emanating from the field below. It's unnaturally empty -- quiet. In place of these familiar stimuli is an army of men in yellow vests, busy constructing what will become the venue for February 27th's Stadium Series event featuring the Colorado Avalanche and their former division rival Detroit Red Wings.
It's quite a spectacle of human production. 200 men and women will work on this project, piecing together 32,000 square feet of decking for the rink, on which they will place 243 custom-made aluminum trays, through which 3,000 gallons of glycol coolant will be circulated to keep the 10,000 gallons of frozen water at an optimal 22 degrees Fahrenheit. Doing the heavy lifting is a one-of-a-kind 53-foot, 300-ton capacity refrigeration unit that will keep the 2" of ice (approximately twice the thickness of a normal NHL surface) ready for prime-time NHL action. It's basically the world's biggest frozen traveling circus.
In addition, the crew will be constructing an auxiliary rink for youth exhibitions, stages for musical performances, and two risers beyond the main rink to display team logos. Water starts pouring this weekend, a fine mist applied as slowly as possible, and will be ready for February 20th's game featuring Colorado College and Denver University.
The views are really much more striking in person. Having never attended an outdoor hockey game in a baseball stadium, I was skeptical about the sight lines. It's really much better than I anticipated. Here's a view from center field, the furthest seats from the rink.
This was from the 1st base side concourse:
This was from the first row of seats:
This was from as high up as I could get. Second deck, right field:
This is starting to get real!