CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — A raucous capacity crowd at Boston College’s Kelley Rink made for an incredible atmosphere as the Eagles faced their most hated rival, Boston University, on Friday night.
Unfortunately, it also helped force the postponement of the game.
As temperatures reached close to 70 degrees outside, the indoor mark soared upwards of 80 degrees, forcing a massive cloud of fog over the Kelley Rink ice, making conditions unplayable.
After numerous delays for players to skate in an attempt to break up the fog cloud, referee Scott Hansen convened BC coach Jerry York and BU coach Jack Parker, along with BC’s Associate Athletic Director for hockey Tom Peters, and Hockey East Director of Officiating Dick DeCaprio at the 10:21 mark of the first period.
After a short conversation the decision was made to postpone the game for safety reasons.
“My goalie said he couldn’t see the puck,” said Parker. “There was a point at which we couldn’t see the BC bench [across the ice].”
The problem was caused by record-breaking temperatures in New England, a capacity crowd inside the rink and the ultimate factor — Kelley Rink being without air conditioning.
“This building was built in the late ’80s,” said York . “It was right on the cusp of when buildings started making air conditioning standard.
“I think our administration and coaching staff are upset because ultimately it was our facility that couldn’t stand it.”
It’s the second time in two years that fog affected a game at Kelley Rink. Last season’s exhibition game against St. Thomas was postponed halfway through due to fog. That game, though, was played in October when the temperatures often soar into the 80s or higher.
It also wasn’t played in front of a major audience that included CSTV’s national game of the week broadcast.
“I’ve lived in New England for a long time and I’ve never seen weather link this in December,” said York.
Temperatures at Boston’s Logan Airport reached a record high of 69 on Thursday, one degree warmer than the 25-year-old mark. On Friday, the temperatures were equally as warm but humidity rose to an unbearable point with major rains and high winds anticipated later in the evening.
“It was very hot on the bench and even hotter in the locker rooms,” said Parker.
There has not been a date set for a makeup game, and it is unclear whether or not the game will be picked up from the point of suspension or re-started from the beginning.
Rule 5-3-F of the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Book states that a referee has the discretion to stop a game at any time if the conditions become unsafe. If neither the players nor spectators are part of the reason for stopping the game, it is the decision of the coaches whether to resume or restart the game.
Friday’s game was scoreless, though Boston College was in the middle of a five-minute power play after BU’s Eric Gryba was whistled for hitting from behind.
The only consolation for both teams is that they’ll most certainly get a chance to face one another on Saturday night, when the back end of the home-and-home series heads to BU’s Agganis Arena. That building, only a year old, should have no problem handling whatever weather conditions exist.