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The NHL’s Winter Classic Weather Contingency Plans

These are unique.

It’s damp.
Laura Astorian

Obviously, the weather outside today sucks. It’s misting/raining, it’s foggy, and it’s fairly warm - though not too warm to play. The Winter Classic is set to begin in under an hour, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to fully clear up for quite a while.

This is an issue, because in case you missed it, this game is outdoors.

The NHL’s elected to begin the Winter Classic at noon, but emailed out a breakdown of what could possibly happen if the weather doesn’t cooperate. From the NHL:

Once the game has begun, it may be subject to one or more temporary stoppages due to unplayable weather conditions, at the discretion of the Commissioner.

Period and game format may be reconfigured to accommodate temporary stoppages as determined appropriate by the Commissioner.

In the event of high winds at the ice surface, the clubs will switch ends at the 10:00 minute mark of the third period as signaled by a "hard whistle." The face off will take place where the play was whistled dead. This identical procedure will take place at the 2:30 minute mark of an overtime period, if needed.

In the event of a shootout, each club will determine what end they prefer to defend, which could be the same end.

If the game is started, then stopped permanently due to unplayable weather conditions, it will be deemed "official" once two periods have been played. The team leading at the time play is stopped will be declared the winner and will be awarded two points in the standings.

Wait, what?

So, here we are right now, in the rain. It’s nasty outside.

And this game, between divisional rivals, could possibly be stopped after two innings and the team in the lead gets the two points. It’s the seventh inning “official game” rule, and it sucks.

What honestly could be more weird than problematic is the fact that the game has a tiny potential of having to be wrapped up on February 26th.

If the game is tied at the time play is stopped permanently, any time after two periods of play, each team will be awarded one point in the standings, with an opportunity to earn an additional point in a standard shootout format.

If weather conditions permit, the shootout will be conducted at Busch Stadium immediately after regulation play has been stopped. If weather conditions make it impossible to conduct a shootout safely at Busch Stadium, the shootout will take place at United Center on Sunday, February 26 prior to the regularly scheduled St. Louis-Chicago game, with St. Louis deemed the home club for shootout purposes only.

Regardless of when the game ends or whatever happens, hold on to your ticket if it gets postponed.

If the game is started, and stopped permanently due to unplayable weather conditions, and fewer than two periods of regular time has been played, the game will be officially "postponed" and, if possible, will be played in its entirety at Busch Stadium on Tuesday, January 3. If the game cannot be replayed at Busch Stadium on January 3, it will be rescheduled at Scottrade Center for a date to be determined later in the season.

Ticket holders must retain their tickets to gain re-entry to Busch Stadium in the event the game is to be playedTuesday, January 3. There will be no refunds for ticket holders unable to attend Monday’s postponement date. If the event is canceled on Tuesday, a refund of the ticket's face value will be honored. The refund does not include service fees, and other fees such as delivery or processing fees. Ticket holders should review the back of their ticket or for complete refund policy language.

And yes, there is a chance that tomorrow’s weather will also be awful. So whatever you do, figure out some way to be able to be here tomorrow if you have to. Will it be a holy nightmare if you’re in from out of town? Absolutely, but how often do you get a chance to see hockey played outside in the rain?