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

Saanich police first in B.C. to offer mental health resiliency training

Departments from Oak Bay, Saanich, Central Saanich complete trauma training class

Nanaimo blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

Judy Woodruff discovers bedroom of home in south Nanaimo turned upside-down; jewelry and art stolen

Vancouver Island man in Russia to reshape the future of hockey

NHL official Rob Schick talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Couple collecting empties to feed VIU scholarship fund can’t pick up cans on campus anymore

Parmars have been picking up cans for 12 years; university now enforcing safety policy

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

Technical difficulties delay Victoria’s $500,000 Christmas light village

The Lights of Wonder display was originally set to open on Dec. 13

Striking loggers get space at North Island Mall

Space gives union members a Port Hardy base of operations to collect donations, talk to public

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular returns to Vancouver Island for 13th year

Festive stage production brings variety of dance and musical styles to Victoria, Nanaimo, Courtenay

Firefighters called to burning motorhome on Nanaimo’s waterfront

Nanaimo Fire Rescue extinguishes blaze Monday afternoon on Esplanade and Irwin Street

Victoria council chambers packed for ongoing environmental cruise ship discussions

Union workers, neighbourhood associations and more gathered for environmental conversations

Vancouver Island veterinarian heading to Africa with Veterinarians Without Borders

Dr. Roberta Templeton and her vet husband will help dairy farmers in Uganda

Most Read