MINNEAPOLIS -- After weeks of preparation and monitoring a sheet of ice, Kevin Gift was just a few hours from greatness. The puck would drop for a dynasty, as the Gopher women's hockey team was ready to kick-off the Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium.
"We're flooding every 20 minutes until game time," Gift said, before noting that recent sub-zero conditions were causing him some concerns. Underneath the ice, Gift was pumping something strange through the 28 miles of tubing.
"Right now we're using a boiler to heat the glycol that's being pumped through the system. The chiller's completely off and we're trying to raise the temperature so the ice isn't as brittle," Gift explained.
For a guy like Derek Hillestad, who runs TCF Bank Stadium's operations, it's worth it. Braving the cold and working the long hours is a means to an end. "To do something for the first time in the state of Minnesota and do outdoor hockey, you know, it's been special. It's going to be a special night," he said.