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2016 Stadium Series: Coors Field Preps For Avalanche And Red Wings

Ah, the crack of the bat, the smell of green grass! Hope springs eternal at Coors Field as the hometown Colorado Rockies prepare to...wait, hold on. It's February, it's frigid outside, and pitchers and catchers haven't even reported to Spring Training. What's going on here?!

Ryan Murphy

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.

Stadium Series Crew Crop

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.

Stadium Series Center Field Crop

This was from the 1st base side concourse:

Stadium Series Third Base

This was from the first row of seats:

Stadium Series Close Up

This was from as high up as I could get. Second deck, right field:

Stadium Series Foul Pole

This is starting to get real!