A version of this article appears in the Dec. 28 issue of ESPN The Magazine.
When the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers hit the ice for the Winter Classic, it will be the first outdoor NHL game that won't feature Ty Conklin. The St. Louis Blues goalie, who faced the elements as an Edmonton Oiler (2003), Pittsburgh Penguin (2008) and Detroit Red Wing (2009), has nurtured an intimate bond with Mother Nature. Here, he shares what to expect from her.
"It was zero degrees in Edmonton that night, and that really affected things. The ice was so brittle, chunks broke off and flew around. Our equipment guys got warming tips from the trainers of the Edmonton Eskimos and Green Bay Packers beforehand. I wore a neoprene suit under my gear and kept extra gloves on a heater, switching at breaks. You needed to change gloves to be able to use them. In addition to playing hockey, just trying to stay warm was a battle in itself.
"For the last two Winter Classics, I didn't wear anything different because the weather was pretty great. I was even breaking a sweat at Wrigley last year."