Mosaic Stadium begins flipping football field into NHL rink for Heritage Classic

Click to play video: 'Crews begin flipping Mosaic Stadium for NHL Heritage Classic'
Crews begin flipping Mosaic Stadium for NHL Heritage Classic
WATCH: A 100-member crew touched down at Mosaic Stadium to begin flipping the field for the 2019 NHL Heritage Classic – Oct 15, 2019

Mosaic Stadium is officially trading in its turf for ice after the 2019 NHL Heritage Classic rink-making team touched down in Regina on Tuesday.

Helping the roughly 100-member crew is the world’s largest mobile ice plant. Inside, the state-of-the-art equipment that will recreate NHL-calibre ice.

“It’s very similar to what you would have in an NHL building, except ours is in a 53-foot trailer,” explained Derek King, NHL senior manager of facility operations.

It takes more than just a garden hose to flood the arena. King, who’s been doing this for 16 outdoor NHL games, said crews will spend the next three days running pipe down to the floor before putting up the boards Friday morning. From there, an 18-member ice crew will pump 3,000 gallons of coolant into aluminum trays on the field.

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Come rain, snow or shine, King said they are prepared for Saskatchewan’s unpredictable weather.

“Weather doesn’t really play a factor with the ice plant,” King said. “Cloud cover is going to be great when we’re building ice, but if it’s a warm day we’ll use the ice plant behind us to cool the floor.”

“We’ll adapt to what Mother Nature gives us.”

Crews are expected to start building the ice on Friday afternoon. The outdoor rink needs about two inches of ice thickness to withstand the weather. It’s slated to be finished by Oct. 24, the day before practices get underway.

The event is expected to bring thousands of people to the Queen City. Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) estimates it will have a $15 million to $18 million economic impact.

Tim Reid, REAL president and CEO, said seats to watch the Calgary Flames face off against the Winnipeg Jets are virtually sold out.

“If you wanted to get an after-market ticket or an obstructed view ticket, there’s always tickets available,” Reid said. “We’re encouraging people to buy through Ticketmaster just because we can authenticate it, but essentially it’s a sold-out game.”

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Hotel rooms and Airbnbs are also seemingly sold out, making it hard for fans to snag online reservations.

“We have people that are chartering planes and flying in and flying out after the game, but this is just such a great international event that it means everything is full,” Reid said.

“Frankly, this is exactly what we want in our tourism industry. This stadium was built so that we could drive economic development and economic prosperity for the community.”

Global News spoke to a handful of out-of-town fans who say they are selling their tickets because they can’t find a place to stay.

While accommodations could be problematic for the Heritage Classic and future events like Grey Cup 2020, the City of Regina is confident in its hosting abilities.

“I’m not worried at all. We’ll be fine. We will always put on a great event. We have enough hotels here and accommodations, so it should not be a problem. It will not be a problem,” Mayor Michael Fougere said.

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