Canada’s Dante Fabbro takes the ice during their outdoor hockey practice at New Era Field during the IIHF World Junior Championship in Orchard Park, N.Y., Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS

Bundle up: USA-Canada hockey rivalry going outdoors

World junior rivals meet outside

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Whether it’s indoors or now outdoors, Canada coach Dominique Ducharme doesn’t expect the bitter elements to chill the cross-border hockey rivalry his nation has developed against the United States.

“We’re rivals. It’s always been tight games. And we expect a tight game tomorrow,” Ducharme said Thursday, after Canada’s junior team held a brief practice on the temporary rink built on the turf of the NFL Buffalo Bills’ home, New Era Field. “Yes, it’s going to be played outdoors. But once it starts, game on.”

Bundle up, because Canada and the United States are taking their differences outside on Friday, when the teams meet in the preliminary round of the 10-nation world junior hockey championship. It will be the first international game played outdoors and is expected to draw more than 40,000 fans, which would set an International Ice Hockey Federation attendance record.

It’s also expected to be cold, with temperatures forecast to range between 15 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 to -6 Celsius) once the puck drops at 3 p.m. Eastern.

Canada is 2-0 after beating Finland and Slovakia. The U.S. opened the tournament with a 9-0 win over Denmark on Tuesday, and faced Slovakia on Thursday. The winner Friday will get the edge in the Pool A seeding, and would be expected to get an easier matchup once the quarterfinals open on Tuesday.

After the Americans tested the outdoor ice on Wednesday, it was the Canadians’ turn under a bright, blue sky on Thursday.

It felt just like home, Canadian goalie Carter Hart said, recalling the many times he spent skating on a large outdoor rink in the backyard of Canada teammate Sam Steel’s home outside of Edmonton, Alberta.

“Feeling that kind of cold air and runny noses, and cold feet: It was really cool,” said Hart, who wore black tape under his eyes to help deflect the sun.

Hart will get the start in his first meeting against the Americans since allowing Troy Terry’s deciding shootout goal in Canada’s 5-4 loss in the championship game at Montreal in January.

“Honestly, I’m not too worried about that right now,” Hart said. “It’s over and done with.”

Though Canada holds a 33-10-3 edge over the United States at the world junior tournament, the Americans have been on a run of late. The U.S. has won the past three meetings, and split the past 10 games since a 6-5 overtime win over Canada in the 2010 championship game.

Tournament organizers gave the final go-ahead to have the game played outdoors during a brief meeting Thursday after concerns were raised over the dropping temperatures.

Of the NHL’s 26 regular-season games played outdoors, five have been played with temperatures below 20 degrees. That includes this year’s NHL 100 Classic in Ottawa, when the game-time temperature was measured at 12.5 degrees (-10 Celsius).

The coldest was the NHL’s first outdoor game at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium in 2003, when the temperature was 0 degrees (-18).

The Bills stadium was the site of the NHL’s first Winter Classic in 2008, when the Buffalo Sabres played Pittsburgh with a light snow falling and a game-time temperature of 33 degrees (0.5).

Canadian forward Dillon Dube said the uneven ice conditions will force both teams to play a simpler style by placing an emphasis on short passes and offences chipping the puck into the opponent’s end.

“It’s going to be a meat and potatoes game. That’s going to be the fun part about it: old-time hockey,” Dube said. “But definitely, this game being outdoors is going to be just crazy.”

John Wawrow, The Associated Press

Just Posted

UPDATED: Oak Bay father takes stand, denies killing young daughters

Andrew Berry has plead not guilty to the December 2017 deaths of his two daughters

Relative of man found dead in Saanich says he was missing for years

RCMP and a private detective had been searching for him since 2012

Stranded hikers rescued by helicopter from North Island mountainside

Campbell River Search and Rescue used hoist operation to safely rescue trio near Woss

Coroner’s inquest into fatal police shooting in Port Hardy begins in Campbell River

James Reginald Butters, 24, killed in 2015 after RCMP responded to call of male uttering threats

Duncan woman thought she’d die trapped in hot backyard shed

Jessica McCauley kept her cool and escaped after her toddler locked her in

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

Counterfeit $100s circulating in Greater Victoria

Saanich police say several fake bills have been reported

Island manslaughter suspect found not guilty in Supreme Court

Court accepts accused’s argument of self-defence for 2017 incident in Courtenay

Retired B.C. fisherman wins record $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

Victoria man charged with abducting autistic four-year-old daughter to Indonesia

Brent Erskine appeared in court in Victoria on Tuesday

Warrant issued for man involved in machete incident near Nanaimo’s tent city last year

William Robert Francis Carrigan failed to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo on Tuesday

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

Vancouver Island poet writes over Shakespeare

Sonnet L’Abbé explores colonial thought by superimposing her own poems over the sonnets of the Bard

Most Read