Bell Centre ice maker lends expertise to Winter Classic

Get a taste of what to expect when two bitter rivals get set to hook up at Gillette Stadium for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

BROSSARD, Que. — François Martindale, the man in charge of the quality of the ice at the Bell Centre, has been a big part of ice-making team at the Bridgestone Winter Classic since its inception in 2008. In fact, he was part of the team that put on the Heritage Classic in Edmonton, between the Oilers and Canadiens in 2003.

On Wednesday, Martindale showed up in Brossard to show off the truck responsible for making and maintaining the ice at this year’s Jan. 1 Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA,.

As of December 21, Martindale will bring the truck and his experience to the venue—where he will begin the process of spilling out 10,000 gallons of water to provide an ice sheet that meets NHL standards.

The maintenance will be extensive leading up to practices for both the Boston Bruins and Canadiens and the alumni game on the afternoon on Dec. 31, and some fine tuning will certainly be a part of the plan before the Classic gets underway at 1:00 p.m. ET the following day.

“There are always variables related to the temperature outside or the stadium we’re installing ourselves at,” said Martineau in French. “This truck facilitates our operation in a big way with its two giant compressors speeding the process.

“I think Boston will be a good venue. The biggest concern for us is lots of sun. Even at plus-2, plus-5 [Celsius] we can make good quality ice.”

Martineau said optimal conditions would be an overcast day on which the temperature hovers slightly below the freezing point. He may want to ignore the long-term forecast for now, which says it’ll be a balmy 8 degrees Celsius without a cloud in the sky.

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