BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Annapolis is about to get icy, and it has nothing to do with the weather.
The National Hockey League is gearing up to take over Annapolis, and the matchup at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium is creating quite the buzz.
It will take a lot of work to transform the grassy field to an ice rink.
The game will be outdoors, but organizers say they expect the ice to be ready no matter the weather.
It’s hard to imagine a hockey game on the green Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium field, but that’s exactly what will happen in a matter of days when the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs face off in Annapolis.
“We’re really excited. We can’t wait for people to come here and spend their money after this amazing game,” said Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley.
The highly-anticipated matchup is part of the 2018 Coors Light NHL Stadium series.
A 53-foot refrigeration trailer is an essential part of the transformation.
“Obviously, we’ll work with whatever Mother Nature gives us in terms of weather for that day,” said Derek King, facilities/hockey operations. “We have the equipment to kind of manipulate the conditions that we need.”
Organizers say the trailer is the largest mobile refrigeration unit in the world.
Crews will work up to 16 hours a day, setting the stage for the largest professional sporting event ever held at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
There are enough seats for 34,000 spectators.
“There’s a lot of excitement. I think people are just starting to come around that there’s an outdoor hockey game being played here at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in March, outside at night,” Vice Admiral Ted Carter.
A hockey rink in an unlikely place is a chance to celebrate and come together.
“Really, a nod to the man and women of our armed forces and all they do to protect our freedoms on a daily basis,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. “Being able to work with them to pull this game off, is fantastic.”
The game will be on Saturday, March 3, and will also include a midshipmen brigade, flag presentation, and a glee club performance.