Brrrrrrrrrr! -17 Degrees Expected at Winter Classic

NHL Dec 31, 2021

Coldest Game in NHL History is Expected

At 6 pm on New Years Day when the puck drops, it's expected to be minus -17 degrees. The wind chill will be -25.  

You know, hockey weather.

For many Canadians who play outdoor hockey, these conditions might be "normal."  But it's hard to predict what frigid weather will be like for players and fans who will pack what's normally a baseball stadium in Minneapolis for the NHL game between Minnesota and St. Louis.

Perhaps the bigger question for those of us reading this page right now....can we profit from the conditions somehow?  Who suffers most in brutally cold conditions – offenses or defenses (goaltenders)?


All three of the main medium range models – the American, Canadian and European weather models – are currently predicting wind chills that could be low enough for the National Weather Service to issue a wind chill advisory, or perhaps even a wind chill warning.

The wind chill has to be -25F to meet the criteria for a wind chill advisory, and -35F or colder for a wind chill warning. Look at these wind chill estimates from the three aforementioned models for right around puck drop Saturday.

American model: -13F wind chill in Minneapolis


Canadian model: -27F wind chill in Minneapolis

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European model: -20F wind chill in Minneapolis

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The NHL and Minnesota Twins have prepared to help keep fans and staff warm with more than 40,000 hand warmers in stock for fans along with heated concession stands, stairwells and other areas of refuge.

Not only will the temp and wind chill be nasty during the game, but it'll be bad all day Saturday, so anyone planning to attend the fan festival from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. will also need to bundle up and prepare for bone-chilling cold.

The fan festival includes outside attractions along 1st Avenue and 6th Street, in addition to indoor activities at Target Center. More details about the fan festival can be found here.

"A surge of arctic air will bring the coldest air so far this winter across the region Friday night through Sunday. Please dress in layers and cover exposed skin when headed outside," warns the National Weather Service. "If traveling, tell someone where you are going, and when you will arrive. Bring a charged cell phone and some warm clothes."

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The coldest game in NHL history was 0 degrees at puck drop in the 2003 Heritage Classic, which was an outdoor game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Edmonton Oilers in Edmonton. So yeah, this Winter Classic is probably going to go down as the coldest game in NHL history.