Outdoor Hockey Game at Raley Field May Get Rained Out

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SACRAMENTO --

If you've got tickets to the outdoor hockey game at Raley Field Friday night, you might want to keep your Saturday free too, just in case.

The game will be aired on the NHL Network, and features minor league rivals the Stockton Heat and the Bakersfield Condors.

But they may be facing another opponent come game time: the weather.

Hockey was born outdoors, on the frozen ponds and rivers of the Northern Plains. So for fans and for the skaters, playing outside is special.

"We don't get to do this hardly ever. Especially being professional. It's something we all did growing up as kids. And it just brings back great memories," said Ryan Hamilton of the Condors.

But to pull-off an outdoor game in a baseball park, organizers had to do a lot of thinking about the rink.

These days it doesn't need to be to below freezing outside to make good ice.

"We create the cold weather underneath the ice with the chemicals and all the piping that goes underneath it. There's a lot of technology behind this," said Mark Francis, spokesman for Rink Specialists Ice Sports.

In fact, it could be up in the mid-70s Friday at game-time, and the ice ought to be just fine.

But, there is one issue that could make skating in the great outdoors not so great.

"Rain is kinda the one fly in the ointment," Francis said.

Water on the ice surface slows everything down. A lot of water of the ice surface messes everything up.

Which begs the question: Are the players watching the skies, now that they'll be skating underneath them?

"I've heard about the forecast. I try not to look too much into them. I'm trying to focus on what we can control," Hamilton said.

The weather forecast is an ominous one, with somewhere around an inch of rain expect through the afternoon Friday.

"We're thinking we're just like baseball. We'll play the next day. Everything plans to just move back," Francis said.

In case the game gets rained-out, it'll be on Saturday instead, at the same time and same seats shown on your tickets.