Weather Brain: Ty's Winter Classic tips

Vet of all NHL's recent outdoor games tells players what to expect from Mother Nature

Originally Published: December 31, 2009
By Stephanie Bagley | Special to ESPN The Magazine
Ty ConklinIcon SMITy Conklin has faced extreme cold in Edmonton and snow in Buffalo.

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.

The Cold

"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.

[+] EnlargeJose Theodore
Jeff Vinnick/Getty ImagesJose Theodore battled zero-degree temperatures in 2003's outdoor Heritage Classic.

"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."