Feb 28, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) and goalie Corey Crawford (50) during practice the day before a Stadium Series hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past several months, you already know that the most anticipated game of the season will take place this evening: the Stadium Series at Soldier Field between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburg Penguins.
You also probably know, especially if you live in “Chiberia” that it is going to be cold. Really, really cold.
As of 8:00 am CST today, it’s a balmy 24 degrees – still below freezing, but at least not below zero. When the puck drops tonight at 7:00 pm, however, the temperature will drop to the low teens, with a wind chill hovering around zero.
Although this is great in terms of ice conditions (and I am still amazed how they pulled off the game in Dodger Stadium), for spectators who were lucky enough to score tickets, it will be far from the relatively cozy conditions at the United Center.
Many of you may have been to a Bears game or two and are fully prepared for huddling up in the stands tonight. So here are just a few important tips for staying warm.
(1) LAYERS! I cannot stress this enough. If you wear your heaviest sweater, you are going to be sweating up a storm all the way to the stadium in the car, bus, or train. The added benefit of layers is having a small layer of air that helps insulate some of the heat. Yes, Chicagoans are tough and used to cold weather, but there’s no reason to suffer, or risk hypothermia or frostbite.
(2) GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS! There’s just no way around this one. You may be lucky enough to have a block of seats with a bunch of friends and family members, but at some point it’s inevitable that at least one person (if not two) from your group will be sitting next to a total stranger in close, somewhat cramped quarters. There’s strength in numbers, and lots of warmth! Huddle up, and if you make nice they may even share their Blackhawks throw or snuggie with you.
(3) CUT BACK ON THE ALCOHOL! There’s a psychological effect that drinking alcohol generates, making a person think he is warm. That’s a dangerous illusion and one that has landed many a person in the hospital. It’s not to say you should avoid drinking altogether – it IS a hockey game, after all! – but it would be good to alternate between alcohol and water, or even hot chocolate!
Finally, for those of you watching at home…send warm thoughts to your Blackhawks fan brethren who are braving the elements to cheer on our boys to victory!