eam USA takes on Canada in the first outdoor game in World Junior Championships history Friday afternoon at New Era Field. Based on the weather forecast in Buffalo for the day, if one thing is for certain, it’s that everyone in the stadium will need to be bundled up well.
The current forecast in Buffalo for the game’s 3 p.m. ET start time is a temperature of 18 degrees Fahrenheit with clouds and a possibility of snow. Accounting for wind chill, it’ll feel even colder, with an estimated feel temperature of 8 degrees.
So…it’s going to be quite cold for this game. However, IIHF officials met Thursday afternoon to evaluate whether to move the game indoors and decided to keep it at the home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Attendance for the game is expected to be over 40,000 in the 71,608-seat stadium.
Hockey has been played in extreme cold before, such as the 2011 Heritage Classic in a chilly Calgary, but it adds a challenging layer to an extremely important game. This isn’t just a gold medal rematch from last year’s tournament. It’s also a crucial game for the U.S. after a surprising loss to Slovakia on Thursday night.
Another loss could potentially put the Americans in a precarious position for the rest of the tournament. Being banished to the relegation stage is unlikely after a 9-0 beatdown of Denmark in the tournament opener, but the U.S. could be handed a brutal matchup right out of the gate in the playoff stage if it loses its next two games to Canada and Finland. That’s definitely possible given that those are two very good teams.
So the stakes are high for Team USA, yet we’re talking about an outdoor game in freezing cold temperatures being played less than 24 hours after an upset loss. It’s a difficult series of circumstances, and the weather forecast in Buffalo doesn’t help much at all.