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Keeping warm will be key at Heritage Classic

NHL.com reporters provide tips to help Heritage Classic fans to be comfortable and safe for Sunday's big game.

Saturday, 19.02.2011 / 4:17 PM / Heritage Classic
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Keeping warm will be key at Heritage Classic
NHL.com reporters provide tips to help Heritage Classic fans to be comfortable and safe for Sunday\'s big game.

The forecast for Sunday's 2011 Tim Horton's NHL Heritage Classic looks good as it calls for mostly sunny skies and very little wind.

The only sticking point Sunday could be colder-than-expected temperatures at game time. Right now, weather.com's forecast calls for a low of -14 Celsius (2 Fahrenheit) and a high of -2 Celsius (27 Fahrenheit). Temperatures were considerably colder (-12 Celsius or 10 Fahrenheit) for Saturday's Heritage Classic alumni game.

The Calgary Flames released a statement urging fans to dress appropriately for Sunday's game, which will start just as the sun is dipping below the horizon and temperatures are starting to fall.

This is not the first time the NHL has played outdoors in cold-weather cities. Calgary is the sixth city and the previous five have provided some lessons for fans attending the event -- including sub-freezing scenarios in Edmonton, Chicago and Boston.

Plus, NHL.com has talked to several experts in the field of cold-weather survival in the run-up to each game. Here are some tips NHL.com reporters learned to help Heritage Classic fans to be comfortable and safe for Sunday's big game.

Dress for the part. We are not dressing for fashion here, but rather functionality. It’s all about layers. To survive the cold, you layer all the way up until you are super warm. You can always take off layers when you get mad at the other team and your blood pressure rises, making you too toasty. You also need to worry about your toes to avoid frostbite, so make sure you bring along some of those foot-warming packets. They really work!

Remember, too, that 80 percent of your heat escapes through your head, so make sure you have a toque bearing your team’s favorite logo perched atop your head.

Use teamwork to form a shelter. Let’s say it’s really windy and the wind is cutting into your enjoyment of the show. What can you do? One thing would be to get everybody’s coat and zip all the zippers together to make a huge tarp that can serve as a tent for everyone in your row to huddle under. Again, use your head and those resources around you. Be creative.

Avoid frostbite. Frostbite usually happens in the extremities because your body is reacting to a cooling-down situation of its core that is beyond acceptable limits. As a result, it concentrates the blood flow to the internal organs and abandons the usual process of sending blood to the extremities. Here the advice is the same as it would be in a real survival situation.

If you feel yourself getting cold, especially in the fingers, toes, ears or nose, move about. Simple calisthenics -- jumping jacks or running in place -- will raise the body temperature. Or keep warm by jumping up and down as much as possible and scream to cheer on your team. Be the best fan you can be and you will be rewarded with a warmer body temperature!