SoCal heat not fazing ice rink at Dodger Stadium

Nighttime temperatures and the NHL's refrigeration system should keep the ice at Dodger Stadium in playable shape.

Friday was just another typical day in Southern California. The sun was out, the temperatures were rising and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

All in all, a great day for making ice.

The unseasonably warm weather hasn’t thrown a hitch into the ice-making process for the folks who are preparing Dodger Stadium for the Kings-Ducks game Jan. 25. It’s been business as usual.

"It hasn’t done anything to us right now," said Dan Craig, the NHL’s senior director of facilities operations. "We’re down below 60 degrees at rink-side (at 5 p.m.), and that’s where we expected to be when we were making ice."

Reflective insulated blankets protect the surface in the daytime and are removed after the sun goes down so that spraying of the surface can begin.

Go behind the scenes as the rink at Dodger Stadium is prepared.

Spraying started Thursday night, with about a quarter-inch of ice being put down. NHL spokesman Jamey Horan said another half inch would probably be sprayed Friday night and would continue through the weekend.

Skeptics have warned that hot weather could make the surface dangerous for players, but nighttime temperatures and the league’s refrigeration system should keep the ice in playable shape.

"If you’ve lived in Los Angeles a long time, at 5 o’clock at night it’s not 85 degrees on a normal night," said Jim Steeg, the NHL’s events consultant. "Last night, what was it, 55? At Staples Center, when you’re sitting in the stands, it’s not 32 degrees."

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Steeg knows all about preparing major sporting events. He worked for the NFL for 26 years and 26 Super Bowls as its senior vice president of special events, coordinating stadiums, hotels, entertainment and security.

The Dodger Stadium game, he said, is a new kind of challenge.

"It’s more challenging in some ways," he said. "Football, you’ve got a field. Here you’ve got to build the field. That’s been a weeklong process to get to that point where we’ve built the field."

By Friday, the rink’s boards and glass were built, and areas had been set up for the volleyball court in left field and the music stage in right, where KISS will perform.

 "We’re right on schedule, right on the hour of scheduling," Craig said.