Outdoor hockey is coming to Raleigh for the first time ever this Saturday. The 2023 Stadium Series, one of the NHL’s biggest events will be played at Carter-Finley Stadium right across the parking lot from the PNC Arena which is home ice for the Carolina Hurricanes.
The match features the Hurricanes versus the Washington Capitals, two teams that have developed a competitive rivalry over the years.
This will be the 37th regular season outdoor game since 2004 and the 33rd unique venue to host the event. The outdoor game was previously scheduled to take place back in 2021 but due to COVID, that game was postponed.
Equipment trucks arrived in Raleigh two weeks before the match to transform Carter-Finley Stadium football field into a surface capable of holding and freezing ice for the matchup. The National Hockey League’s mobile refrigeration unit features all the equipment needed to make Carter-Finley hockey-ready ahead of Feb. 18 and features a 53-foot refrigerated tractor-trailer. Ice on the surface has to be two inches thick and 22 degrees at all times.
With the warm winter here in North Carolina, there’s little concern from the NHL about having a good ice surface to play. In the past cities like Denver, Colorado, and Dallas, Texas, temperatures were in the 60s when the puck dropped for outdoor games so the NHL has learned from the past and made adjustments to adapt to changing weather conditions. The biggest fear is rain because there’s no controlling it and it would make ice surface conditions nearly impossible for hockey. Rain falling on the surface would melt the ice and ruin the paint jobs and official lines of play. Current forecast prediction models have temperatures in the 30s and clear skies at game time Saturday night.
Meanwhile, the Carolina Hurricanes are one of the hottest teams in the NHL and have one of the best records in the league. You can feel the buzz in the air with marketing all over Raleigh with street signs and giant murals on skyscrapers in North Hills and Downtown Raleigh. If you are looking for tickets to this sold-out event get your wallets ready for the aftermarket which features ticket prices starting around $300.
If $300 tickets are too rich for your blood don’t worry, the game can be seen on national television and there’s a fan fest going on downtown on Fayetteville Street from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. the day of the game. This event is free to the public and will feature food, games, former Hurricanes players signing autographs, live fireworks, live music and street hockey. There will be a photo opportunity with the Stanley Cup during the event also.
Wash your hands and remember Lord Stanley’s Cup has top-notch security. The puck drops at 8 p.m. under the lights at Carter-Finley and we expect the loudest stadium in the NHL since we already have the title of the loudest arena in the league. Go Canes!